As STS9 took the stage at Terminal 5 for their only appearance in New York City this fall, an eager and welcoming audience greeted Hunter Brown (guitar), David Phipps (keyboard), Zach Velmer (drums), Jeffree Lerner (percussion), and newest member Alana Rocklin (bass). The band released its newest album, The Universe Inside, and this material added new dimensions to their set.
They kicked off the first set with “World Go Round,” a new song from their latest album, and smoothly transitioned into an old favorite, “Blu Mood.” The band continued to rev up the crowd’s energy with another song off The Universe Inside, “Worry No More,” placed strategically mid-set after “Aimlessly” and before
“F. Word.” Bass heavy “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist” followed, harkening back to the band’s earlier years and just exhibiting Alana’s mastery of the band’s broad array of music. After taking a much-appreciated dark turn, the set took another climb towards hopeful highs with “Click Long Echo” before finishing up with another song off The Universe Inside called “Totem.”
The second set was much more heavy on their old stuff as the band started off with “Vapors” before going into old favorites such as “MOD” and “Ramone & Emiglio.” From there, the quintet embarked on an experimental yet fluid mid-set jam, beginning with new song “Get Loud” and going into “Open E,” which showcased the talents of Velmer on drums and Phipps on the keys. The jam continued with “Kamuy” where Lerner held down a steady percussion backdrop for Brown to texture his guitar licks over before dropping into a nifty percussionist solo that really played off the crowd’s energy. “Kamuy” seamlessly transitioned into a cover of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” before going back into “Kamuy.” The second set closed with a spacey “When the Dust Settles.”
Following those two remarkable sets, the band returned for not one, but two encores. The first encore showcased “Gobnugget,” the second closed out the night with “Looking Back On Earth” and “Inspire Strikes Back.” All in all, the release of their new album has clearly fueled them with a new vitality and solidified newest member Rocklin’s integral place in the band.