Towards the end of their UK run of the New Levels New Devils album release tour, Texan instrumental rock outfit Polyphia hit up The Fleece in Bristol for an evening of techy yet groovy riffage. With a completely sold out run of dates this side of the pond, excitement and hype filled the venue – of which I was not impartial to. Having listened to Polyphia since their first release Inspire right up to last year’s release of their third full length album, I was very excited to see how they have developed both sonically and in terms of their live performance. Boy was I not disappointed!
The evening began with three-piece instrumental rock band Covet. Having toured with Polyphia in both the US and Asia, they landed upon our shores to grace us with the most beautiful and intricate music. Guitarist Yvette Young, who has risen up in the world of social media-based musicians, mesmerised the crowd with her lyrical-like tapping riffs. Whilst the mellow vibe set by the band placed the audience in a trance like state. Covet played tracks like “Ares” and bunch of tracks off their new record Effloresce. I was very impressed by their musicianship and having heard good things about them over the internet, I was left with my mouth wide open by the end of the set!
Contrary to the support act, Polyphia awoke the crowd from the calm state they were in riling them up with masses of energy. After a quick troll of coming on stage, hitting a few notes, and walking off proclaiming the end of the night – a trap beat-esque intro came on leading way for “G.O.A.T”. The hip-hop influenced track had the crowd moshing whilst simultaneously breaking down to the groove. Next up was a personal favourite of mine. “O.D”, also off their new record New Levels New Devils, possessed Latin-infused grooves showing how expansive and inventive Polyphia’s sound can be. Bassist Clay had mic duties for the band and kept the crowd more than entertained in between tracks, whilst also throwing himself into the crowd at one point as gave the bass to a fan to play!
Polyphia’s energy on stage whilst flawlessly playing technical riffs blew my mind, and what’s more is, they wanted the whole crowd to get involved. During the track “Goose” of The Most Hated EP Clay ordered members from the audience to crowd up to the stage and being close to the front I sure put in a shift getting nearly 30/40 odd people onto a fairly small stage! It’s worth noting that guitarists Tim and Scott were able to not lose track or mess up their playing whilst they had people jumping up and down right beside them.
The setlist mostly featured tracks off the latest album and EP, however there were tracks from their earlier albums Muse and Renaissance. “Champagne” had the crowd singing back the catchy hook from the chorus whilst “Crush” featured another one of those moments where bassist Clay felt more at home surfing over the crowd rather than playing is instrument! They ended their set, with appropriately titled “Finale” – however the crowd simply wanted more. Polyphia returned to the stage to perform “Euphoria” as their encore track, and honestly that was a perfectly fitting name to describe the crowd at the end of the night!
Polyphia’s latest record New Levels New Devils is available now through all major digital outlets