WORDS BY TIM VOELKER
These days when I look at festival lineups, it always feels like there is something missing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always more that I want to go to than there is time or money. But when I choose a festival, I try my best to focus on music that I haven’t seen; to choose a lineup that offers diversity and exploration. Not to mention, I prefer something smaller in scale as opposed to the increasingly massive crowds. So I sided with a couple of old favorites this time around.
There’s no doubt that the weekend in Belden, CA for Wave Spell Live this year is going to be something special! And while tickets are still available at the moment, there’s no doubt the gates will be closed off at full capacity with a weekend of incredible music ahead of us.
Right off the bat you’ve got that fact that STS9 is going to play nine total sets over the course of the weekend. Add the fact that this the inaugural year for this festival, and it’s all the more reason to attend. Plus there’s just something about the timing of it. I’m talking of course about for them as a band. If you think about their tour dates this year, STS9 has been particularly selective so far. They have even missed a couple of favorites stops (Chicago anyone?).
There is no question that they are the best they’ve ever been: creatively, technically, otherwise. Anyone following their boards on Bandcamp can attest to the diversity, not just in their set lists, but in the band’s chemistry. And this year, as far as I’m concerned, is the furthest they’ve ever pushed it. This Wave Spell odyssey has been a very courageous move; opening their studio space and sharing their msuical exploration.
So of course, I would choose this festival this year. And with all that, here’s are 9 other sets you need to see this weekend in addition to the 9 sets of STS9.
9 Must-See Sets @ STS9’s Wave Spell Live
1 Wave Spell Sets
I’ve been waiting for another opportunity to catch an improv set since they performed what would later go on to be One/One at the Fillmore in Denver in January 2015. To this day I still throw that show on and marvel at how tight the entire performance is even though they had only been playing together for less than a year. It’s been a long road since then, and I can’t wait to see them explore the material they shared on their first two Wave Spell albums. Now to mention whatever else they have up their sleeves.
Originally billed with only two sets over the weekend, this jam rock outfit snuck in a third set on the schedule called Sunsquabi w/ Friends. I can’t wait to see who pops up during this performance. They very nature of this festival kind of lends itself to surprise sit ins, but I’m glad to know there’s a big one on the books.
I’ve seen this guy with Glitch Mob a couple of times and never been disappointed. Still I’m pumped to see what he does by himself. That solo set he released from Coachella a few years back leaves no doubt for me that we’re in for something special this weekend, especially considering that Ooah is there too. Perhaps a dual?
4 Richard Devine
This man has a storied history with S9 and is often credited with helping to influence them. Seeing him on the lineup was enough for me, but now knowing that he’ll be sharing the stage with STS9 for three sets makes a little giddy!
5 Prefuse 73
The first time I caught this dude was on the Live as Times ChangeDVD. He was part of a little snippet that showcased the supporting acts from that weekend. I have since devoured this man’s catalog and can absolutely say that knowing he’s going to be there feels right.
6 Michael Menert
I love catching this guy even when he’s on his own. He has a familiar sound and always brings a good time with him. Couple that with the fact that he’s sandwiched in between three Tribe sets and I think everything that needs to be said has been said!
7 Phipps Solo Set
Phipps could play chopsticks and I’d be marveling. Following a series of solo shows early this year, it’s hard to say what he’s planning on busting out at this festival. As far as I’m concerned, it could be the same sets. But whatever he does play will find the us all in a rare moment of piano bliss.
8 Baad Quartet
a Jam/EDM super group playing together? Members of STS9, Big Gigantic, Lettuce, and Pretty Lights are all I need to hear. The fact that they’ll be playing jazzy goodness and who knows what else leaves me passionately curious. It’s timing couldn’t be better either. An early Sunday set will be a welcome change of pace and perfect way to bring in the final evening.
9 Alvin Risk
You know when you show a friend a lineup and they say, “Ooh, that guy”. I’m not sure how I’m late this party on this one, but since he was called to my attention, I’ve gone and done the due diligence. My only concern is that it’s gonna be hard to dance at this set. And that’s because you’ll find me floating about in the Feather River as this guy drops the badness!