It had poured both nights of the Sequence Music Festival in Brooklyn, an outdoor mini-festival that took place in a courtyard in the revamped Industry City district. Sans poncho or umbrella, the rain left you damp or probably drenched, with your beer a little watered-down. That is, unless you were there for Com Truise, because Sunday night, July 22, 2018, was the night Com Truise made the rain stop.
Sequence — organized by City Farm Presents, an agency related to the team behind the venues at The Bell House and Union Hall — brought together Plastic Picnic, Neon Indian, SHAED, Pomo, Anna Wise, Aaron Taos, Neon Indian, and Com Truise (the latter two headlining Saturday and Sunday nights, respectively) in what used to be a barren series of buildings in South Brooklyn. For a time, these massive structures stood as monuments to a post-war industrial area sandwiched between the Gowanus Expressway and marine terminals on the Upper Bay that separates New Jersey and New York. Somewhere in the background is the Statute of Liberty. Now, the area is completely redone for both work and play purposes. It’s pretty nice.
Although the artists on the bill are somewhat niche and “indie,” whatever that means anymore, this being Brooklyn the Sequence Music Festival was poised to attract a healthy amount of people. And it did, despite the rain that dominated both the nights of Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22 — each night getting 200 to 300 people by staff estimation.
Saturday night started off dry, allowing Plastic Picnic to expertly perform their 1980s-inspired indie-rock — their nostalgia centers in the realm of The War on Drugs or Twin Shadow, which is a beautiful space in which to center. But shortly thereafter the skies would unload on other acts POMO, Shaed, and Neon Indian. No umbrella? No poncho? You’re stuck inside Industry City’s nice Food Hall. Needless to say, I didn’t have either and kind of tanked any coverage that night. I’ll note, though, that despite the rain, people were having a good time.
— Vehlinggo (@vehlinggo) July 23, 2018
‘Propagation’ After the Rain
On Sunday the rain was again a potent force until about 8:45 p.m., which coincidentally was around the time Com Truise (AKA Seth Haley) took the stage to play his particular and absolutely killer variety of syncopated synthwave. By maybe a song into it, there was no rain at all and a couple hundred people were entirely in the thrall of the Ghostly artist, as he played singles and favorites, including “VHS Sex” from 2011’s Galactic Melt, “Forgive” from 2016’s Silicon Tare EP, and “Propagation” from last year’s Iteration album, among several other songs over the course of an hour. It was an absolute blast.
Here’s Com Truise performing “Propagation.” (Sorry for the vertical perspective — I intended to shoot a clip for Instagram and ended up sticking with the whole thing.)
Throughout Com Truise’s set, he loomed large over his computer and controllers, manipulating the keys and buttons with the caring but imposing force of a man of his robust disposition and emotional intelligence. Dressed in all black and taking on a serious gaze — most of the time, he did connect with the audience with levity at times — Haley exuded the essence of the earnest purveyor of sci-fi-infused electronic music that he is. He may not have been surrounded by synths or a full band, but he commanded the stage with an engaging intensity nevertheless. The crowd was dancing, engrossed, and otherwise fully into what Haley had to offer.
One thing to note is that the sound system at Sequence was superb. Given the massive bottom on the Com Truise sound, a sophisticated and powerful low-end was a must and the venue delivered. No doubt the somewhat narrow distance between buildings that houses the courtyard helped direct the sound. Check out the video below, which shows what happens when the remnant of rains crosses paths with Com Truise.
The whole enjoyable show continued as Com Truise played songs we know — and what I think could have been a song or two we didn’t. But at some point between 9:45 pm and 10 pm, something happened. Haley played his final note, looked up, smiled, and walked off the stage. The rain, which had abated for essentially his entire set, started up again.
It was as if the rain did Com Truise fans a solid and let them have their moment. Or maybe it was Com Truise that controlled the rain just as effortlessly as he controlled each colorful synth stab, each memorable melody, and each complexly timed rhythmic pattern he could unfurl.
For more photos and videos, check out the Vehlinggo Twitter feed.