CONCERT PREVIEW: STS9 presents Axe the Cables @ The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA 8/25/12

WHO: STS9 presents Axe the Cables
WHEN: Saturday, August 25th, 2012
WHERE: The Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA

It’s amazing to think back and realize that I’ve been following or chasing a band for 10+ years, and besides the obvious ones like Phish (duh), The Disco Biscuits (untz) and Umphrey’s McGee (I am a Chicago boy if you remember), there are only a few choices within that category where I can publicly say I’ve followed their every move. One of those bands is STS9, or Sound Tribe Sector 9 as it was known as in the “early” days, and following my first time with the band at the House of Blues in Chicago in 2001 (with DJ Saxton, their lighting director opening), I’ve been hooked on their sound and believed that they were the future of music that I would be following for years to come. The band has evolved constantly and yet somehow managed to simultaneously remain true to their original core sound, most likely because they’ve never shied away from using technology as a tool and a further progression of their acoustic instruments (the constant evolution) and then deciding to scrap it all to go back to what the six musicians in the band do best…


Of all of the bands within the scene, these guys are hardly out collaborating--not always the case…Murph does random stuff here and there--and rather choose to jam together and most often and only make music as something under the STS9 moniker. And maybe that allows them to return back to their core sound more easily, especially when they host shows under the Sector 9 name like I saw in New Orleans this year for Jazz Fest. But this Axe the Cables this that they’ve done before, where they don’t bring any over use of electronics or laptops to the stage and instead play their music more jazz lounge style, this is entirely different.

When you hear STS9’s compositions, especially the old ones, it was very clear this was a band pushing drum and bass, jungle, techno, electronica and everything associated with it to the jamband scene. They could play their instruments live so well that people would call them machines (most often referring to drummer Zach Velmer). And eventually they started to build to that sound and continued to work in synthesizers and computers to their arsenal of sounds, thereby allowing even more precision and creative exploration on stage. (Somehow people often think laptops take away from the creativity on stage but that’s not ever how STS9 used them). Then sometimes lately, they strip it all back down to the core compositions and their musicianship and call it Axe the Cables.

Tonight, I get to see the stripped down Axe the Cables show at Mountain Winery in Saratoga, the first time I’m seeing them take it down to this level. I know what to expect, but the combination of this being the first time at this venue with the first time I’m seeing one of my favorite bands playing their own version of MTV’s Unplugged has the full potential to create lasting memories well into my live music experiences…

Tickets are still on sale so I’d suggest heading down from SF with me and my small crew and checking out this show with us. If you need a taste of what it’ll sound like live, check out the videos below. I’ll have some tweets coming live from the show via @LiveMusicBlog…

STS9 - "Equinox" - Gates Opera Hall - Denver, CO