Smoke hung thick in the sparsely populated room. A small gathering of misfits and enthusiasts, barely even enough to fill the free parking lot directly adjacent to the venue, shuffled about between the bar and the venue floor waiting anxiously for the night ahead. The standard goings-on were interrupted promptly at 9:00pm as a young man took his laptop to the stage and fiddled with some wires before launching into his set. Com Truise took the stage wordlessly and, with the exception of a brief technical malfunction, vastly outclassed his expectations, in fact even the technical issue became an enjoyable part of the set as he took in in wonderful stride and rapidly resolved the issue before launching into his acid jazz set, which included samples from Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” among many other blood-pumping dance tracks.
The reprieve between Com Truise and Clark was decidedly brief, and the headliner took the stage in silent fashion, adorned in jeans and a plain white t-shirt, a stark juxtaposition to his sound profile as an artist. There was no warning or time to prepare for the set; immediately, he launched into harsh tracks like “Hoova” and “Aftermath,” setting a vastly different tone from Com Truise’s much more laid back set. Clark was relatively stoic during the entire set but what he lacked in showmanship he more than made up for with precision. He was able to perfectly control his dense, aggressive, deeply layered music, leading to an intense sonic experience.
His set began to sag a little toward the center, something that is fairly common for small room DJ sets, but he managed to save it at the end when he delivered fan favorite “Banjo,” which quickly reinvigorated the crowd with its strange production and aggressive chest-cracking beat. Clark closed off the set with “Winter Linn” and “Un U.K.” the first of which was a clear nod to the songs popularity, which showed across the venue floor as people began to move their bodies more freely. When Clark finally closed out the set with “Un U.K.” the audience grew palpably uncomfortable, though not because of the intense nature of the music. At the end of the song Clark was clearly forcing the Constellation Room’s sound system to its very limits and many attendees could be seen looking for their earplugs. However, moments before the ear shattering volume and punishing strobe that had been throbbing in the background for the past half hour threatened to terminate the patrons, the song slowed, then quietly stopped as Clark called out “thank you!” over the crowd and left as quickly as he came to the sound of thunderous applause.
The show was a clear success, if a little unorthodox. The crowd was never fully engaged save for a small contingent of energetic souls on the right side facing the stage. Sonically, the performance couldn’t have been better, save for the brief technical issue at the front of Com Truise’s set. However, the main issue (if it could be called that) was the overall crowd energy, part of which is attributable to it being a weeknight show in a very small venue, the other part a victim of Clark’s notoriously violent and unique soundscape, which is better suited to either sit-down shows or underground warehouse raves. All in all, the show was a solid success and Com Truise brought his A-game as an opener for a genre legend. Clark released his excellent eighth studio album Death Peak last month, while Com Truise has a new album planned for June 2017.
Com Truise Photo Credit: Shareef Ellis 11/2/2012