Sound Tribe Sector 9 performed their first of three nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday in celebration of their 20th anniversary, with opening support from Nightmares on Wax, El Ten Eleven, and Moon Boots. Across both sets, STS9 performed the entirety of 2005’s Artifact.
The band stayed close to the Artifact script for the most part, mirroring the studio album’s masterful compositions, with the exception of “GLOgli” which housed a deep jam with a percussive drum break that deteriorated into an ambient soundscape. Set break emerged after “Tonight The Ocean Swallowed The Moon,” then resumed the second set with “Forest Hu.” The band took the opportunity to appropriately perform their recently-released song “Real & Imagined” live for the encore, into “Breathe In.”
“Real & Imagined” was originally recorded at some point during the group’s Artifact sessions, a period of time between 2001 and 2004 that eventually bore STS9’s atmospheric 2005 album. As noted in the notes accompanying the release on Sound Tribe’s Facebook, “[‘Real & Imagined’ has] always been one of our favorite songs, we just couldn’t seem to finish it. We revisited it after The Universe Inside and something just clicked. The first step in making something real is to imagine it. In other words, our reality is the sum of our collective imagination. We’re more inspired than ever and we hope this song inspires all of you. Let’s imagine something beautiful.”
“Real & Imagined” opens with sparse piano and shimmering electronic effects sampled from Sbtl Hvy’s “Landscape Breath” (as noted by Reddit user timeisart), which then continues to weave its way across the rest of the song. As the laid-back bass and spacious drums kick in, the song settles into an easy groove, never losing sight of the song’s ambient tone. Eventually, the song gears up with the juxtaposition of a plucky guitar riff paired with wispy and eerie electronic ornaments, hinting that the song will easily serve as a jam vehicle in STS9’s live shows for years to come.
Saturday night, SUB-ID and Richard Devine will serve as support before Tribe puts on a more standard performance, though the performance is likely to be anything but standard. To close out their Red Rocks run on Sunday, STS9 will play a special “Axe The Cables” acoustic set to end their celebratory weekend. Troyboi, LTJ Bukem featuring Armanni Reign, and Soul Clap will kick off this last show.
Check out Friday night’s show opener below, courtesy of nugs.tv.
Check out the full photo album by Kaleigh Mathis.