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Monday, November 10

Review and Photos: STS9 with Michal Menert - War Memorial Auditorium - Halloween Night - Nashville, TN

The atmosphere filing into this grandiose venue on this, the holiest night for live music was electric. It was Halloween night and in the world of dance bands, this night has become sacred. Over the years we have become to expect the unexpected as each band seemingly tries to one up the others' performances and ideas. We the fans, have benefited as this holiday has become arguably the night to see your favorite band, after all anything is possible. This could not be truer with the theme of this evening. That word, simply being “Funk”. The vibe had engulfed the colorful fans that wrapped around the Romanesque pillars that decorated the War Memorial Auditorium. Security was out in full force but they even had a hard time hiding their smiles while searching all the daring costumes. STS9's fans evoked electricity inside the intimate venue waiting for the evening to reveal its secrets.
Michal Menert, who had the honor of kicking off this anticipated show was a perfect selection. This was not the legendary electric-soul producers first rodeo and he got the party off to a raucous start. Sampling his vast catalog, he created tracks that had the crowd dancing throughout his adventurous set. Never relying too much on any particular style, Menert kept the beats fresh and kept the crowd on their toes. Just when the dancing fans got to comfortable on any particular beat, heart attack inducing bass drops, separated the masterful tracks. He is certainty not new on the scene but I can't see his popularity having a ceiling.
Michal Menert
The master of ceremonies soon took to the elaborate stage wearing solid white and donning disco balls for helmets. To call it a spectacle would be doing it a disservice as lasers overtook the cosmic surroundings. The band exploded into Sly & the Family Stone's classic "It's A Family Affair". If there were any doubts that this line-up was up to the task they evaporated into a glorious piece of music that had the capacity crowd dancing in Bacchanalian revelry. The piece of music devoured the crowd as everyone remembered why they loved this band. David Murphy is gone for the foreseeable future, but Sound Tribe’s music is as vibrant and fresh as I have heard in years. New bassist Alana Rocklin understands her role in the bands' vision and exercises it with vigor. This marvelous opening number was followed by a couple of inspired originals as the props exited the stage. The Halloween theme soon returned with a funky debut of “Mothership Connection”. This song soared to superior heights when Maureen Murphy of Seygo introduced herself to the ecstatic crowd with her soulful voice. The first set concluded with classic originals. An insane “Aimlessly” ended the near flawless first set. Every member had extra pep in their step during the magical first set, especially Hunter Brown who keeps improving on the guitar and made his presence known all night. The band excited the stage to arousing approval, while many in the audience struggled to pick their jaws off the floor.
The second set relied mostly of funked- up versions of originals, although The Tribe still had a few tricks up their sleeve. The last stanza got off to a rousing start with” Still Blastin’2028 Live Edit (Sub ID)” into “Four Year Puma.” This laid out the road map to the second set. Treasured songs played with extra mustard wrapping around and dipping and diving into each other. The band was firing on all cylinders as the crowd danced in a tribal fashion. The light show was impressive and complimented the music beautifully. The Halloween theme would shine as the meat in a masterful musical sandwich that made up the majority of the second set. “Dance>Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off)>Dance>Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off)>Dance”. This piece of music was the catalyst to that place we all chase as we danced without a care in the world. The colossal show ended with strong versions of “World Go Round” and “Ramone and Emiglio” absorbing the last bit of the energy left in the room. The band left the stage with the crowd in pure bliss. Sound Tribe delivered in every facet this magical night and everybody felt it. But they still had one more treat saved for the Nashville faithful.
STS9 returned to the stage receiving love and praise as the exhausted crowd was woozy but still on their feet. The disco helmets were back where they belonged, on the stage, as the band launched into the perfect encore in the form of the coveted “Shakedown Street”. I could not think of a more fitting way to end this special night of funk than tipping your musical cap to the freaks that started it all. My old ass danced to this monster electronica version of this classic to end this phenomenal night and I had one of those flashes that I been there before. On this night of tricks, STS9 fans got the biggest treat they could have asked for. This new line-up is not only up to the past, but the future has not shined this bright in many a year.
Words: Kevin Long
Photos: Ellis Jones IV
 ©Grateful Music LLC