Sunday night at Seattle’s Chop Suey: The Rift and Irukandji


Last night a dynamic four set line-up rounded up the weekend at Chop Suey in Seattle. The evening’s entertainment provided contributions from hip-hop, rock, funk, blues and jazz; opened by funk-esque punk rock band The Rift.

“We are looking for collaborations that are odd; untypical… [The Rift] are a live based band, not radio hits,” Nick Marshal said, bassist for The Rift.

The infant band began performing a mere four months ago and has already garnered some promising attention from certain West Coast music producers and landed a set at the Orting festival. Harboring a blend of ride guitars, complex revolving bass lines and spritely drumming; the three-piece outfit proposes a comforting contemporary answer to the long lost power-trio.

“The way we play begins with bass riffs… Ben [guitar] spends a long time finding a sound over my riffs,” Marshal said.

There seems to be little fear at letting each instrument independently stand out in The Rift. The percussive section doesn’t simply support the guitar riffs, while the melodious overtones do not bury themselves behind the backbeat. The two brothers, Ben Bradley (guitar) and James Bradley (drums) work intuitively together in forming tempo shifts and breakdowns, while the hyper dynamism of the bass molds a fluidity in the final product.

Irukandji, the 8-piece funk/rock/hip-hop outfit, have been undergoing a transformative process in the last couple months. With the departure of Tai Shan on vocals a strong component of the band’s sound and presentation went away. Stepping into her shoes is Phoenix Kowalski, supplying a fresh iteration of the band’s arrangement and direction.

“She was the missing link in the band… she has the same voice [as Tai Shan] but also raps and changes her style more,” Sola Oyelowo said, MC for Irukandji.

Irukandji’s style and modus seem to persistently fluctuate. There is a heightened level of pacing and intensity in the band’s most recent work – a more vibrant sound that serves to fleshing out their rock persona. The result of this resonance translates particularly well on a live stage, where Irukandji recorded their first full length album.

The properties of Irukandji’s formative elements are unified in a varied presentation of rock, soul, hip-hop and funk. The distinctive virtues of their contributing influences are preserved, while a relationship between the dynamics is captured, producing a fresh yet intuitive approach to the process of hybridizing genres. The merger of influences does not feel forced in anyway, rather the stylized sound harmonizes as an ensemble performance aimed a forming a congruent composition.

“For the most part we are a jam band in practice… there is cohesion in the show though, through our song structure,” Oyelowo said.

Appearing prior to Irukandji was Fictitious, a solo MC who can be frequently seen around Seattle clubs. His in-your-face brand of thought provoking rap garners constant attention and keenness in the local music scene.

Eliquate played out the night to a waning crowd of last standers. Their melodic hip-hop mixed with rock and blues kept the remnants of the crowd captivated as the vulgarity of Monday morning loomed on the horizon.

Both Nick Marshall and Sola Oyelowo spoke of ambitious hopes in the coming future. Irukandji will be