Playing off of a special “Wave Spell Live” improvisation set at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday and three sets at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, STS9 pushed the sky to the limit at their Red Rocks finale with three more cosmic connecting sets.
Surrounding around the Push The Sky concept throughout the weekend, the band performed music from the past, present, and future, taking the space of the mountainous venue to create an immersive production around the theme of universal mythology. STS9 focused on sonic landscapes and transcendent moments to guide their fans towards the cosmos and connect as a whole to the universe.
Oakland, CA producer Thriftworks opened up the final night’s musical trip at 7 p.m. The electronic artist played 45-minutes of unearthed, experimental beats as the sun was setting behind the iconic rocks surrounding the venue, bringing out a saxophonist to add some live horn riffs over his eclectic samples and bass.
STS9 kicked off the first set of the night with a jam-heavy six-song set, starting off with a remixed intro of their “Modular” and “Mischief Of A Sleepwalker” dubbed “Modular Mischief”. Keyboardist David Phipps layed down the foundation on an inverted take on “Warrior” as the spirited melody to “We’ll Meet In Our Dreams” got the crowd dancing in endless motion to the stars. Guitarist Hunter Brown took the reigns to lead the upbringing in the soft psychedelic “F. Word”, mixing in the flare of some “Hi-Key” and “Shock Doctrine” teases.
Edgy guitar riffs opened up the start of “Mobsters”, which was taken around the bend with a jazzy instrumental breakdown, before the space-themed guitar samples in “Be Pulse” marked the ending of the first set. With a short instrumental transition, the stage went dark and the five-piece reappeared on the projection screen off-stage within the depths of the red rocks to radiate sonic, out-of-this-world soundscapes to close off the first set.
Instead of a set break, electronic producer Eprom surged heavy bass for 45-minutes across the rocks. Positioned in the middle of the crowd similar to the previous night’s intermission set by Ott, the crowd got wobbled with hard-hitting bass waves and experimental percussion.
Returning back to the stage, STS9 gradually built up into the sonic sphere of “Spending Time”, adding bits of “Music, Us” lyrical samples over the worldly instrumentals. A new song emerged through atmospheric melodies, hinting “Sky High” samples and unearthed sounds. An Alan Watts sample began the opening to “Totem”, sending the crowd into a spirited party dance as psychedelic projections of the moon shown over the crowd and the stage radiated a lighted triangle totem.
A soulful blast of “Worry No More” sent the crowd on a trip to the outer realm, taking the piece to a downtempo breakdown section for some slow moving trance before “Grow” sprouted up. A ring of clouds swirled directly above the venue as the opening electro samples opened up “The Rabble” for some more ominous space jams. Space synths and a heavy bass beat conjured up some universal energy in “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist”, ending with a rocked out “When The Dust Settles Reprise” as the lyrical sample “all sound, all light” rang over the crowd and the stage dimmed to blackness.
After a brief set break, STS9 returned for a crash landing in the universal cosmos, starting the last set of the night with their crowd-pleasing “Strange Games”, featuring remixed samples of Outkast’s “ATLiens” lyrics “throw your hands in the air”. The jam transpired a tribal woodwind percussion melody that got the crowd into a cylindrical trance dance, leading into the fast-paced “Move My Peeps”. The mystifying trance paired into a frenzied opening piano and guitar intro by Brown and Phipps in “Open E”. Rings of shimmers sprinkled down in “EHM” to a massive buildup of Alana Rocklin’s bass and punching electro synths.
“Open E” – STS9
[Video: Live For Live Music]
“Click Lang Echo” made the next musical appearance for an uplifting blastoff into space, before the band broke it down into a space battle of guitar, synths and earthy drumming. Rocklin played out groovy bass riffs for an extended “Seed” sequence, allowing Brown and Phipps to lead the jam into space. Positioned in the middle was “Get Loud” for a funky disco party among the rocks. “GLOgli” marked the night’s final song, taking the usual space jam to a close on a lighter note, projecting rays of light to a connected point in the sky and emanating celestial sounds around the rocks. A huge cheer brought STS9 back onstage for a final encore for the weekend of “Presence of Light”. Ending around their theme of universal connection, atmospheric synths played under a gentle key melody for a gradual buildup of worldly nature sounds, creating one last divine moment with their fans in the mountains.
With the ending of their Push The Sky performances, STS9 will start into the Apo11o tour on the East Coast at Buffalo Riverworks on September 19th and the Brooklyn Mirage on September 20th. Tickets to STS9’s upcoming Apo11o tour can be found here.
Below, you can view a gallery of last night’s cosmic experience with STS9 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre courtesy of Andrew Rios.
Setlist: STS9 | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 09/07/19
Set One: Modular Mischief Intro > Warrior+ > We’ll Meet In Our Dreams^, F. Word*, Mobsters, Be Pulse
Set Two: Spending Time% > New Song& > Totem, Worry No More > Grow, The Rabble, Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist, When The Dust Settles Reprise
Set Three: Strange Games@ > Move My Peeps > Open E, EHM, Click Lang Echo > Seed > Get Loud > Seed, GLOgli
Encore: Presence of Light
^ New Forms tease in middle section
* Hi-Key & Shock D teases, Shock D outro
% Music, Us teases & samples
& “Sky High” samples