Com Truise gave Seattle exactly one week with his interstellar new record Wave 1 before his show here Tuesday night. This is producer Seth Haley’s first Seattle stop since Sasquatch! Music Festival in 2012, where he rocked the roof off the dance tent in middle of the day. If Tuesday night’s sold out gig was at all a good sign, I’m guessing Haley won’t wait nearly as long before returning to the city again. In short, Chop Suey was a madhouse. Paired excellently with LA hard house duo Phantoms with an opener from Seattle’s own Zoolab, Tuesday night was a party from beginning to end.
Last week, we got to see Terence Ankeny a.k.a. Zoolab open up for Mas Ysa and Lawrence Rothman at Barboza. But this week, Zoolab got the crowd he deserves with Chop Suey already 2/3 full by the time his set started. Zoolab’s eclectic mixture of electronic sounds and styles was a perfect setup for Phantoms and Com Truise. His sound alternates between expansive, driving dance bangers and slower, atmospheric tinkering. Ankeny does both extremely well, and the crowd was heavily receptive of his sound. As the set went on, the general population crept closer to the stage and dancing permeated further and further back through the crowd. By the time Zoolab wrapped up, things were well on their way to making a great time happen tonight.
Phantoms may be a relatively new name to Seattle, but judging by the crowd’s reaction Tuesday night, I doubt they’ll stay that fresh for long. Phantoms hail from OWSLA, Skrillex’s eclectic electronic label that has given home to a wildly diverse collection of sounds and artists, including dubstep pioneer Skream, house producer Alex Metric, and Grimes collaborator Blood Diamonds. Phantoms keep the room pitch black so that the matching cubes of light under their trigger pads keep eyes forward and bouncing. Phantoms could run with the likes of Disclosure any day. The two threw a massive set, including material from their debut OWSLA EP, new material (including a tune called “Closer” that we’ll see soon), and a totally killer remix of Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor”. While the action built pretty steadily up until the point of that remix, after it, things exploded, and the looks on both of these guys’ faces told the story plain as day. Phantoms’ set was a total blast, and the fact that we got to watch these guys enjoy an unexpectedly awesome crowd synergy put icing on the cake. Phantoms, you guys are welcome back anytime.
At normal listening volume, you could possibly mistake the music of Seth Haley as being relatively “chill”. It’s great music to zone out to, and the deliberate, driving nature of his bass/snare hooks puts you into a mental groove you can ride for hours. But as everyone at Chop Suey was a witness to, when you turn Com Truise up to 11 and throw in an excellent light setup, the rhythm is going to get you. Seth Haley ascended a massive, neon pentagon and queued up the tunes to wild applause. Sure enough, within seconds of that first explosion of spacey synth brilliance, heads were bobbing and bodies were moving. In this context, the 80s robot aesthetic of Com Truise dies and the music becomes something vibrant and sensual. Not that it wasn’t before, really, but put in a collective context with a full room of warm bodies and a dapper, bearded guy going all mad scientist on a collection of controllers for all to see, Com Truise really comes alive as an organic dance effort. Galactic Melt classics were everywhere - “Ether Drift”, “VHS Sex”, “Cathode Girls”, and the gorgeously melancholy “Brokendate” were among crowd favorites. Haley broke into plenty of In Decay as well, throwing “Controlpop”, “Klymaxx”, and the like into the mix. In fact, Wave 1 material didn’t make it into the set until much later, when Haley dropped lead single “Declination” and the skittering “Subsonic” to ravenous applause. But the set order felt incredibly organic. Com Truise held the crowds utmost attention and kept the dancing up for an hour and a half straight then left us for the next time he returns to our galaxy. It just goes to show how incredibly rewarding the fun and challenging dance music of Com Truise is in both the individual and live contexts. Chop Suey went home quite satisfied.