This past weekend, we got to go to the STS9 tour when it hit the Congress Theater in Chicago! You can check out our review of the night, after the break.
March 16, 2013 brought the funky STS9 Winter 2013 tour to Chicago’s historic Congress Theater. The easiest way to describe this show in two words would be, “space music.” The show only featured one opening act, Maserati, and just like STS9 these four guys put on a funky, space-like act that blows minds and melts faces. This Chicago show was only the first of a two night run for STS9, with their second show the next day being a sold-out gig at The House of Blues. When bands book two nights in a row in one city it’s generally a good indication that there are loads of fans that want to come out and see their favorite band. The first night at Congress Theater didn’t sell out, but it was a psychedelic party big enough to rock the theater and impress a ton of fans.
Maserati is a six year old rock/psychedelic group that comes out of Athens, GA. Fresh off a performance at the Austin, TX SXSW music festival earlier this week, I was expecting a stellar show after seeing all the positive feedback that came from their festival showcase. Sampling from influences like Pink Floyd, U2, and ZZ Top, this eclectic group, who also falls under the genre of “ambient,” surpassed my expectations on stage at the Congress. I found that the varying tempos, space-like nature, and trippy atmosphere of the act was strikingly similar to STS9. This was absolutely not a problem because most of the audience who I believe had never heard Maserati before seemed to really dig the tunes that they were laying down. With their last album release in October 2012, and with quite a few previous studio releases, Maserati kept their set going with song choices that transitioned flawlessly from one to another.
Sound Tribe Sector 9, these folks were a whole other beast entirely. Focused mainly on psychedelic jamming, funk, and jazz, STS9 always puts on an amazing show no matter where they are. The last time this group was in town was for Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival at the end of August 2012. This Santa Cruz, CA group has been jamming since 1998, and every show they put on seems to be unique in one way or another. These guys have gotten their process down so seamlessly that each night after their shows they release a professional recording for people to buy. Coming from the 1320 Records website, samples of the entire Congress Theater show can be listened to for free to partially experience what it was like at this show. The sound, however, is just half the show with STS9. With consistently amazing light rigs, I have to say that these guys have one of the coolest light shows around. Parked next to Congress Theater was a large semi-truck that was part of the production and was used to haul the giant light show around for this band. The set started off calm with a 2 minute intro, but soon after, the guys jumped into one of their top songs, “Kabuki.” From there, the beat was kept up with the tunes “March” and “F. Word,” only to come back down in tempo a bit with “EHM.” Most of the tunes from STS9 are between 6-8 minutes, and they are all works of art that feature some real musicians who have mastered their craft. You can tell by watching the band play together that they understand what jamming together really means. I will include the entire set list for STS9 at the bottom of this review because it is simply too difficult to convey how strange and amazing this set was. Like I said before, it’s easy to simply call this “space music” because these songs will lift you up and ship you off to another planet.
Whether you’re a person who likes EDM or you despise it, STS9 is another genre entirely. They use electronic components in their act, but they are true musicians that deserve all the praise they get for their work. Maserati as well deserves an honorable mention for their well-played set, and I hope to get the chance to experience them again soon.
Information about the review…
Tour: STS9 Winter Tour 2013
Acts: STS9, Maserati
Reviewer: Michael Nutting
Date: March 16, 2013
Venue: Congress Theater in Chicago, IL