Sound Tribe Sector 9 have thrived on exploring the syncopated territory where electronica meets jam, laying down space-age grooves that still involve an actual band. Live PA sets, in which the members trade their instruments for laptops, are a natural extension of that approach, and STS9 has been performing them for a while–but until Friday night, never in New York.

Studio Mezmor, “the city’s #1 super club” formerly known as Crobar, served as venue for the occasion, creating a nice visual hodgepodge to go along with the music: dreadlocked hippies behind the velvet rope, grim-looking bouncers in dark suits and shades pointing spun-out girls in backless dresses down neon-lit hallways. I saw a marine in dress uniform and on crutches, sexy club kids raving it up on the speaker platforms, and the usual wookies doing the usual finger incantations/acid tracer dance, and a little bit of culture clash unpleasantness resulting in overturned trashcans outside the venue.

Sector 9 is at their best when the music seems to happen without effort or ego (nobody ever takes anything as selfish as a solo), and their setup on Friday enhanced that effect. There were drums, percussion, keyboards and a guitar on stage, but all five members were mostly engaged in button-tweaking, and the music just emerged, crystal-clear and bone-shatteringly deep, from speakers all around the room. You could never be too sure who was responsible for any particular noise. The club’s fog machines pumped fog to good effect but I was bitterly disappointed to see the gigantic disco ball go unused all night.

Here’s a video of Sector 9 with their regular setup, playing a song called “Aimlessly”