Math-rock band Polyphia bring endless talent to The Haunt in Brighton, supported by the ample skill of trio Covet.

Covet

Known for their multifaceted song structures and guitarist Yvette Young’s incredible finger-tapping style; instrumental math-rock trio Covet provided a strong opener for the evening at Brighton’s intimate venue, The Haunt. The San Jose-based band quickly gained a following after their formation in 2014, and with Young’s expansive musical prowess, partnered with the blatant talent of drummer, Forrest Rice and bassist, David Adamiak, it’s not hard to see why. The effortless and natural tone of the group immediately calms, whilst somehow giving that complexity and punch of the genre which the fan base know and love.

Released in mid-2018, Covet’s EP, Effloresce, formed a large proportion of the set and did not disappoint. Letting the music speak for itself, the stage saw little action, save Adamiak’s jam-faces and occasional bending and twisting as he felt the music. Despite this, the group were unanimously happy and content on stage, diffusing their joy into the audience. Finishing on their most upbeat tracks, the room was satisfied and ready for the main act, Covet did their job, and did it well.

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Polyphia

Forming in 2010 and first grabbing attention in the prog rock scene with their 2013 EP Inspire, the boys from Texas have gone from strength to strength, now largely considered nonconformists in the metal genre. After initially fooling the crowd with a fake setlist, featuring songs such as ‘Crowd gets on stage and fucks our shit up’ and ‘You thought you were getting a real set list but you got this shit instead’, the four mavericks appeared, jumping straight in with GOAT. The grungy yet highly technical melodies provided by dual lead guitarists Tim Henson and Scott LePage, and bassist Clay Gober, work perfectly combined with the chops of Clay Aeschliman, giving a definite distinction to the group.

A few songs in, Gober revealed that the fake setlist was not so fake after all, and invited the crowd to mob the guys on stage. Demonstrating true professionalism, the band showed their fun-loving side whilst somehow still playing with pin-point precision, swarmed by fans and posing for every selfie demanded of them. Moreover, the real setlist was relentless throughout, with fan-favourites like O.D, Champagne and 40oz all featuring within the first half of the show.

Further intricate and sophisticated tracks followed, illustrating the real ability of the group, punctuated by drum solos and another session of self-inflicted mobbing from the crowd. Despite Henson’s pedal-board being repeatedly unplugged by the stomping feet of the rabble, talent overcame all and the night was rapidly drawing to a close. Gober chugged a beer (as per demands of the audience), crushed it, and then broke into the aptly-named penultimate song, Crush, with Finale ending. To avoid the painfully obvious convention of ‘we’re going to pretend it’s the end and then come back on for the encore’, Polyphia played straight through, ending properly with crowd-favourite Euphoria.

The virtuosity displayed by Polyphia is undeniable. The pure talent each member of the band possesses is irrefutable and the manner in which they handle themselves both on and off stage is admirable. They are remarkably humble and will no doubt go on to achieve great things in the future. If you have not had the pleasure of hearing their most recent album, New Levels New Devils, be sure to check it out.

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Fraser Wakeling
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