STS9’s Re:Generation Festival Re:View

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Being a long time String Cheese Incident fan, I’ve been hearing the words “Horning’s Hideout” for years from passionate fans with a sincere love and respect for the legendary Oregon venue, which is located just a mellow 45 minute drive from Portland. While I have never had the pleasure of seeing Cheese there, the anticipation of joining another of my favorites, Sound Tribe Sector 9, for four sets throughout the weekend with the support of some of the best electronic acts currently touring was enough to get me super amped for my first Horning’s experience.

My crew and I got off to a late start on Thursday and unfortunately missed the Octopus Nebula set that I was very much looking forward to (sorry fellas, I’ll try to get my ass there on time next time…). We had an incredibly smooth drive and entry into Horning’s Hideout. Greeted by the friendly staff and volunteers, as well as the multitude of peacocks that live on the property, I knew right away that it was going to be an epic weekend.

After getting a proper campsite set up in the woods, amid trees that stood as high as city skyscrapers, my homies and I finally made our way down to the Main Stage at around 9 to catch The Glitch Mob‘s set. The Glitch Mob, although composed of talented musicians, is not my favorite group out there… and this set was no exception. However, they did throw down some impressive glitchy beats, had a cool light show, and were dressed for the occasion. They also added a little extra flare to their set with a very talented aerial dancer showing off her moves front stage center. She was incredible and blew the crowd away every time she came on stage. Check out some pics:

After The Glitch Mob set ended at 11, there wasn’t any more scheduled music for the evening. While earlier than the other nights, Thursday’s early stage closing was indicative of the deal for the rest of the weekend: given the family nature of Horning’s Hideout and the fact that they’ve never hosted an electronic festival before, even on Friday and Saturday the music was over by 1AM.  Kind of annoying? Absolutely. But regardless, early stage closings did not mean that the night ended when the scheduled music did.  So, after The Glitch Mob set, we made our way over to the lower campground to find some renegade parties, chatting with some ladies balancing water bottles and salad bowls on their heads along the way. We quickly found the party we were looking for, complete with some friends from back in Massachusetts, and kicked it for a good long while before calling it a night.

On Friday afternoon, The Great Mundane got the day started with a 2 o’clock set at the Sawmill Stage, which was located on one end of vendor row. The set was ultra downtempo and almost ambient, perfect for a relaxing early afternoon. After finding  some friends and catching up with some vendors in the area – especially the guys from RISE Designs (Risegraphics.com), the Third Eye Pinecones (Conesandstones.com) crew, and the lovely ladies of Lock & Ki I moseyed on down to the Main Stage for Pigs on the Wing. Comprised of David Murphy and David Phipps of STS9, Jeremy Salken of Big Gigantic, and some other special guests, this performance was really special. In the steamy but rare Oregon sunshine, this set was definitely one of the gems of the weekend, as I got to hear some of my favorite contemporary musicians play their rendition of classic Pink Floyd songs.

The next show we caught was Big Gigantic on the Main Stage at 5 on Friday. As usual, Boulder-based Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken did not fail to impress myself and the rest of the crowd at this crucial time in the day/weekend. Imagine a sparsely crowded venue and as Big Gigantic took the stage, loads of people skipping down the hillside. You could tell people were prepared to get down, bringing with them inflatable couches, juggling gear and hula hoops (check out clip below). As they threw down nasty drum beats and soul-searching tenor sax lines, Jeremy and Dom’s set finally got me fully into party mode and super stoked for the rest of the weekend, as well as their prime-time performance at The Big Up, being held July 28-30 on Sunnyview Farm in Ghent, NY (Thebigup.com)

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Sound Tribe‘s first of four sets of the weekend began with a fitting “ReEmergence” to start their Regen fest. Taking place in the twilight hours of an exceptionally sunny day and with a Colorado flag being waved proudly to the front left of the stage, Tribe played an exceptionally solid set full of old school groovy jazz rhythms. Zach Velmer‘s percussion solo at the end of “Tap-In” was mind-blowingly impressive. The set list looks like this:

Intro, ReEmergence, Grow, Move My Peeps, Somesing, Luma Daylight, Tokyo, Empires*, Improv/Jam*, Firewall*, Tap-In, Mischief of a Sleepwalker, One A Day, Inspire Strikes Back *w/ Dom Lalli (Big Gigantic)

Somesing… some dance:

“Inspire Strikes Back” was full of energy. I love how this song has evolved over the years:

 

The Malah kicked it off on Saturday, which would be the best of the weekend musically. After a very engaging set that finally and officially represented The Malah‘s long-awaited inauguration into The Tribe, bassist Eliott Vaughn told me that it was definitely a long-awaited culmination for the band as well. If you haven’t yet had the aural pleasure of a Malah show, I strongly recommend that you change that ASAP.

After checking out the music of Inspired Flight and Up Until Now for the first time and very much liking what I heard, I was ready to see Lotus. Having seen them around 30 times over the years, I hadn’t seen them since last summer.  Therefore, it was truly a life changing moment for me and many others who were able to reconnect with such a talented and original electronic band. I feel they’re on the level of Sound Tribe in many technical and creative respects, and they have, like Sound Tribe, been losing some of their older fans in recent years.

After Lotus, I unfortunately missed Little People‘s set due to a much needed trip back to camp for a sweatshirt, flashlight, and other nighttime essentials. Once we made our way back to the stage for Sound Tribe, we were all incredibly amped for what felt to be an amazing show waiting to blast off. While Sound Tribe can be a very inconsistent band, those who really know their music know that when they’re on, they are capable of throwing the best live show of any band out there. Don’t agree?.. Don’t care. To each his own, especially with music. For me, when Tribe is on, that is the only thing I need to hear. Not only was Tribe on Saturday night, but I personally felt like they were harnessing the collective energy more than any other show that I’ve ever been to, including the epic show from Rothbury ’08 and other epic STS9 shows.

The entire show was great, especially because I managed to get front row center and had the main speakers blasting through my body with reverberations of pure goodness. The energy STS9 released from the speakers engulfed the crowd and allowed everyone to be on the same level, at least temporarily. The band members were so in sync that they didn’t even need to look at each other except to smile and give subtle signals.

After STS9 blew everyone away, the atmosphere was celebratory to say the least. Some highlights of the show were “Arigato,” “The Golden Gate,” “F Word,” “Water Song,” “Aimlessly” (with an über  strange intro – I didn’t even recognize the song at first), “20-12,” “Rent,” and the encore consisting of “Breathe In” and “We’ll Meet in our Dreams.”

SET 1: Intro, This Us >, Instantly, Shock Doctrine, Frequencies 2 > 3, Four Year Puma, Arigato, NIN Intro > Tooth, When the Dust Settles

SET 2: The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, Golden Gate, F. Word, Water Song, Aimlessly, 20-12, Scheme, Rent

Encore: Breathe In, We’ll Meet in our Dreams

After STS9‘s set that rocked everyone’s world,  the crowd stormed the Sawmill Stage for Beats Antique, the final show of the evening before we were going to have to once again entertain ourselves for the rest of the night. Beats Antique killed it as usual.  Zoe Jakes dazzled the crowd with her beautiful performance and sexy belly dancing moves. Beats is such a unique band that offers unbelievable amounts of talent and creativity with their middle eastern/tribal sound with dubby beats wrapped up in the mix.  David Satori’s strings and Tommy Cappel‘s drums always keep it fresh. Halfway through their set they switched instruments, which brought a slight change in sound to the music. At the end of their set, they of course had a select few people on stage dressed in animal heads of all kinds. My homegirl Cara even got to be on stage in the penguin head.. and was loving every moment of it.

After the music was over for the night and everyone’s energy level was at a peak from the amazing performances that just took place, crowds flocked to the campgrounds to get ready for a late night of ecstatic fun. Personally, I was kicking it with a bunch of heads from Santa Cruz, who recently came together to form a new vending booth which was called the eFCee Art Collective, which featured tons of great glass, crystals, several different varieties of custom Re:Generation hat pins, and other high-quality goods of various kinds. As the night faded into day we realized we raged the night away and should probably make it back to camp and rest up for STS9‘s “Axe the Cables” acoustic set on Sunday at 2:45.

With few hours of sleep, charged and ready to go, we made our way to the main stage. Proper attire was necessary with a tie or some sort of out-of-the-ordinary festie gear. For example:

The “Axe the Cables” set was mellow, and just the perfect way to start the day from the epic partying of the previous night. STS9‘s acoustic set is so different in style from what we are used to hearing, but the laid back energy allowed the crowd to absorb the music in a deeper sense and feeling. By far, the highlight of the show was “Circus.”  But if that wasn’t enough, Tribe transitioned into a rare Boards of Canada cover, “ROYGBIV”, with Phipps laying down the beautiful piano intro…and then to end the set…”DANCE”! The Dance seemed to catch everyone off guard, but was well appreciated as the final song.

What we saw was a perfect mix of old favorites that sandwiched a nice blend of the new Tribe that is taking shape. Murph even mentioned at one point in the middle, after “South of Here”, “That is something we wrote for the next version of ourself,” acknowledging that the band, maybe more than ever, has taken on a new form.  (STS9.0?)

Equinox, From Now On, Moon Socket, South of Here, Glen Tells Kengo, Untitled, The New Soma, Circus, Roygbiv > Dance

“People, are you ready!?!” Murph began the first set of the final evening. “Really What?” is always a welcome opener and set the stage for a killer night. One treat was to hear “Moon Socket”, again, but this time in a full-fledged onslaught of intense electronic layers. It’s the ability to play the same song on the same day in a totally different fashion that keeps me coming back to this band and wanting more.

Set 1: Intro, Really What?, Beyond Right Now, Kamuy, Peoples, Crystal Instrument, STS9, Lo Swaga, Orbital
 Set 2: Be Nice, Abcees, Hubble, 8 & a extra, Moon Socket, Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, What is Love?, EHM
Encore: BARAKA

“Baraka”, meaning blessing, was a perfect song to mark the end of a wonderful weekend. The opening harmonics of that tune have a way of ringing and bouncing around your soul. It puts you at ease and makes you realize how fortunate we are to have taken part in an amazing festival weekend. I made friends at Re:Generation that I foresee myself staying in touch with forever no matter how far apart we are, because together we shared an experience nobody else could know if they were not there. It’s the type of thing that you cannot explain to someone that wasn’t there, but no explanation is needed for someone who was. Everyone I met that weekend had something to share and give back to others. Nobody was there for themselves, but were instead there to make connections with like-minded individuals. And for that we are truly blessed.

 

Written in collaboration between E. Rock Jamwok, Stefan Malner, and Miss Annie Butts. Photo Credit: Stefan Malner

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