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Polyphia at Crescent Ballroom with Covet & Hail The Sun

October 9, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 11:30 pm

Guitar-bending instrumental group Polyphia formed in the quiet suburban landscape of Plano, Texas in 2011. Somewhere between blisteringly fast metal guitar god territory and pure pop, the band came up with a sound that was technically brilliant but still managed to include catchy pop hooks with its face-melting guitar soloing. The band initially consisted of dual lead guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage, bassist Clay Gober, and drummer Brandon Burkhalter. They released two EPs, 2011’s Resurrect (their only recording to feature vocals) and 2013’s Inspire, before recording their 2014 full-length debut, Muse. Funds for the recording and production of Muse were raised by the band in an online fundraising campaign to which fans generously donated. The self-released album charted in the Top 100 of Billboard’s album chart, and Equal Vision signed Polyphia, reissuing the album in 2015. By the time the album was reissued, Burkhalter had been temporarily replaced by new drummer Randy Methe; however, Burkhalterrejoined in 2015 before leaving again in 2016. Polyphia‘s second album, Renaissance, their first as a trio, appeared on Equal Vision in March of that year. Spearheaded by the lively single “40oz,” 2017’s six-track EP The Most Hated delivered a genre-defying blast of technical shredding that drew inspiration from jazz, R&B, electronic, and hip-hop.

Without using a single word, Covet’s music says so much.

On their new release effloresce, the Bay Area trio effortlessly blend instrumental math-rock with elements of post-rock and post-metal, juxtaposing delicate melodies with propulsive rhythms and captivating energy. There’s an inescapable push and pull to the collection, both as a whole and in its individual pieces. It’s a facet of their sound the group rarely explored on their debut EP, 2015’s Currents, but one they’ve harnessed to its maximum potential here.

“Currents was very positive, clean tones,” guitarist Yvette Young explains. “I wanted this album to have more contrast between stuff that sounded happy and grosser sounds. Contrast is so important; it’s such a valuable songwriting tool for building suspense.”

Young—revered by guitarists around the world for her mastery of the innovative two-handed tapping technique—and bassist David Adamiak started Covet in 2014, with Young’s frenzied following providing some crucial early momentum. But old and new fans alike quickly gravitated to Covet’s immaculate, technically dexterous songwriting, and the childhood friends found a home on bills with bands like Chon and Polyphia.

“A lot of the songs on Currents were written when I had first learned electric guitar,” Young says. “I was new to guitar and really excited about being flashy on my instrument, and a lot of the songs I felt were underdeveloped in retrospect. On effloresce, we wanted to be flashy at times but more importantly, we wanted the songs to be memorable and convey a more diverse array of emotions. We wanted to take everything we love about different genres of music and fuse it into our sound, have dancey moments but also have the dynamics and tones of post-rock. And it’s considerably sludgier and heavier than our last release.”

That’s especially noticeable when the jazzy, ethereal “Shibuya” (featuring San Holo) or “Sea Dragon,” which begins as a slow burn only to explode into a groove-heavy swirl of soaring melody, is juxtaposed next to something like the ominous “Gleam.” It makes for a powerful dichotomy and emotional resonance that’s at the heart of Covet’s art. “On this recording, we experiment with different harmony. I believe this helps dictate the sonic change in mood and tone from a recording like Currents,” Adamiak explains. “Working with new chord changes is exciting because it helps bring out different sides of your own melodic voice you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.”

The musical chemistry between Young and Adamiak is so precise yet brimming with extravagance. Helping to fill out that sound is the dynamic drumming of Forrest Rice. His approach adds a driving yet sophisticated percussive foundation to the harmonic tapestry created by Yvette and David. “Forrest’s additions to effloresce are powerful and fluid,” says Adamiak. “His treatment of the challenging rhythmic changes is so hypnotic and musical; it sets my brain on fire with excitement.” Young adds, “[Our music] is so note-filled and busy already that someone has to have really good taste not to overshadow it, you want one cohesive unit. We fill in each other’s gaps.”

Hail The Sun is a progressive post-hardcore quartet who met in Chico, CA, while studying music technology. The overlap of influences throughout the group has led them to become one of the most dynamic and intricate musical acts to come out of the scene in decades. Formed by drummer Donovan Melero and guitarist Aric Garcia (who played in a death metal band in high school), the original idea for the musical direction was to remain high-energy, while allowing melodies and harmonies to be a prominent feature, rather than just screaming to portray intense emotion. The addition of Shane Gann and John Stirrat brought additional flavors, and the group began to stretch its creative legs, allowing itself to write parts and songs that were much more heavily influenced by jazz, funk, blues, fusion, and Latin musical styles.

The group has toured extensively throughout its three-year existence, and has recently begun experiencing national exposure. They have one of the most high-energy live shows ever witnessed, and that’s all while playing amazingly difficult lines and rhythms. Their drummer is their singer, which is a show in and of itself, and the addition of the other three acting as visual “frontmen,” while not singing, lets the audience’s attention move from here to there seamlessly, and without feeling bored.



Crescent Ballroom
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, 85003 United States
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