STS9 at George’s Majestic Lounge

The Set List

By Brian Washburn

You could feel it in the air. It was spreading its way, building rapidly as you approached the backroom at George’s Majestic Lounge last week. It was in almost every concert attendee’s face in the sold out Fayetteville staple. It was magic, and it was provided by Georgia natives Soundtribe Sector 9.

The show had been sold out — which happened in a matter of hours — for months. Even though the front of the backstage was packed with people climbing over each other to get into the dancing groove (which was not hard to do), the back was not as packed as one would have thought for STS9. But nevertheless, the band did not disappoint one bit and even left some concert-goers speechless and only wanting more as the show came to a close.

STS9’s groove-based electronica can be a bit redundant and even bland at times, but during the show it never let down. It kept attention peaked throughout the band’s two-hour set, which featured a wide array of the band’s decade-long career catalog. While some listeners (this columnist included) can get bored about halfway through these sort of instrumental concerts, this was not at all the case last Wednesday at George’s. The music flowed from track to track. Transitions between songs were flawless and only allowed for a few seconds in between tracks for the crowd to cheer at the top of their lungs, showing their love for the band.

Song transitions were not the only STS9 aspect that was flawless. The band puts themselves on a pedestal and sets themselves apart from other instrumental electronic bands because of their musicianship, specifically the rhythm section of bassist David Murphy and drummer Zach Velmer. The two provided an intense backbone for every track and never missed a beat.

Velmer went from whaling on the drum kit at about 100 miles an hour to a slower, grove-centered beat that allowed the band and the crowd to slow their dancing a bit and break it down.

Murphy showed the precision of a bassist who studies and knows the instrument like the back of his hand He played at times like he was soloing on a guitar.

However, the tunes were not what took the concert to the next level. The music is what drove people to the show, but it was the elaborate light show and the visual aspect of the STS9 concert that truly made it an experience.

The lights gave the packed house the opportunity to rave with one another on a level that has only been seen a few times over the past few years in the Northwest Arkansas music scene.

George’s and its regulars are used to these sort of trippy light shows going hand and hand with an electronica or DJ set, but it is the STS9 light show that takes it to the next level, especially in the intimate setting that George’s offers.

The close quarters gave the band the chance to get close and personal with their fans, and it allowed the fans to show the band just how much love Fayetteville and the NWA music scene has for STS9.

The band has played several sets on some of the biggest national stages, such as Lollapalooza and Wakarusa, but a true STS9 experience only comes in a close setting with viewers who are fully immersed in the visual triumph that is an STS9 show. After a long encore, STS9 left the crowd craving more.

Categories: LIVE! In NWA