On Friday and Saturday, STS9 put on an impressive cap to their west coast string of January shows at The Warfield in the heart of San Francisco. The two-night run marked the band’s first time returning to the peninsula proper since 2017’s New Year’s run at the same venue.
Friday night’s show included a drum and bass debut cover of Radiohead’s “All I Need”, as well as dusting off two old-school tunes. “Tooth” made its first appearance in over two years early in the first set, followed by the uncommon “Crystal Instrument” sandwiched around the newer track “Dragon City” during the band’s second set. STS9 was flowing with intense precision, highlighted throughout by the patience and tension that the band–and lighting designer Tiberius “Lightiberius” Benson–love to put on display. The band came out of the gates strong with a back and forth mashup of “When The Dust Settles (Reprise)” and “Tooth”, before kicking off a full-fledged dance party.
A standalone “Kaya” marked the middle of the set, followed by a menacing triple-transition from “Out of This World” > “Poseidon” > “Ramone and Emiglio”. One thing that sets STS9 apart from many of their psychedelic jam counterparts, is the way that they borrow riffs from multiple songs and melt them together in a transition. STS9 doesn’t feel a need to necessarily commit to a mashup, but a subtly creative blending of instrumental flavors that unexpectedly work together, tend to produce great results. Such was the case during Friday’s “Poseidon”, as the jam continued to surface between peaks in “Ramone & Emiglio”. A slow, tense build-up elevated the building into “Frequency 2”, which segued quickly into “Frequency 3”, completing a transmission that started in Tahoe, and with it the set.
Friday’s second set began with a monstrous and heavy-hitting drum and bass take on “Oil & Water”. Making the selection all the more intense, STS9 pounded on the Radiohead feels for their debut performance of “All I Need”, transitioning in and out of the “Water” section. The rest of the set featured a near constant disco beat as the floor shook beneath the crowd.
Come Saturday night, things seemed a little looser all around. The band was settled in, fans were tuned in, and the venue opened up, inviting fans to party in the balcony after unexpectedly closing it the night prior. Saturday night highlight’s included delivering the third-ever live performance of Peaceblaster’s “Squishface”, an early fan-contender for the bust-out of the year. The track coincides with a new STS9 branded strain of cannabis also called “Squishface.” Prior to Friday’s show, percussionist Jeffree Lerner was out promoting the strain at a local dispensary.
On Saturday, STS9 opened their first set with “ABCees”, which quickly moved into “Monkey Music”. The band invited the venue into a soft and gentle, atmospheric realm, before picking up with double bass drum fills as they moved forward with “F. Word”.
STS9 – “F. Word”
[Video: Must Have Media]
A sexy, cool jaunt take on “Squishface” was next, reminiscent of the Isley Brothers’ “Between The Sheets”. “Squishface” segued into “Strange Games”, a newer song that that band debuted in 2018, and has notably already been played 17 times live.. “Golden Gate”, named after the iconic San Francisco landmark, rounded the half way point in the set. The first set ended with “March” segueing into “When The Dust Settles”, an apt description for the mind-bending set that had just been delivered.
STS9 – “Golden Gate” and “March”
[Video: Must Have Media]
STS9 opened Saturday’s second set with “Balancing”, before dropping into the sweet melody of “Vapors”. STS9 kept the opening of the set incredibly heavy, and carried that energy into the second-ever take on “Days Out Of Time”. “Days” rabbled back and forth between “The Rabble”, another masterfully crafted mashup-style segue. A tasty drum and bass jam eventually peaked and broke into “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist.”
STS9 – “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist”
[Video: Must Have Media]
For the remainder of the show, STS9 didn’t slow down, as they moved forward with “Bigs”. Saturday’s “Bigs” contained “Arigato” teases, before STS9 powered through with their newer song “Menacer”, and then dropped into a full-fledged “Arigato”. Within the “Arigato”, STS9 bounced back and forth between “Call Jam”, before fully inserting the “Arigato” sandwich and closing the set just after midnight. “Presence of Light” opened the evening’s encore, getting its 17th spin since debuting in the same room at the band’s 2017 New Year’s run. STS9 closed the show with “Firewall”, last seen at the band’s inaugural Wave Spell Festival in August.
Checkout a beautiful gallery of photos from Saturday courtesy of photographer Josh Huver.
STS9 will pick things back up with a three-night run at Chicago’s House of Blues on February 15th-17th.
For ticketing information and a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, head to STS9’s website.
Setlist: STS9 | The Warfield | San Francisco | 1/25/2019
Set One: Awesome feat. Cool Kids (STS9 Remix) > When The Dust Settles Reprise > Tooth > When The Dust Settles Reprise, Rise Above, Get Loud > Kaya, Out Of This World > Poseidon > Ramone & Emiglio > Frequencies 2 > Frequencies 3
Set Two: Oil & Water > All I Need* > Oil & Water, Be Nice > Crystal Instrument > Dragon City > Crystal Instrument > Metameme > Seed > Four Year Puma
Encore: Breathe In
*- debut, Radiohead
Setlist: STS9 | The Warfield | San Francisco | 1/26/2019
Set One: ABCees > Monkey Music, F. Word, Squishface > Strange Games > Golden Gate, March > When The Dust Settles
Set Two: Balancing ft. Armanni Reign > Vapors, Days Out of Time > The Rabble > Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist, Biggs > Menacer > Arigato > Call Jam > Arigato
Encore: Presence of Light > Firewall