PHOTOS: Chon leads bill of complex and groovy math rock at August Hall


Photos: Joaquin Cabello

SAN FRANCISCO — San Diego’s Chon brought its Super CHON Bros Tour to the newly opened August Hall Saturday night.

The math rock band featured groovy guitar parts alongside complex harmonies at the sold-out show. The group had a synchronicity that allowed the crowd to easily keep up with its polyrhythmic and progressive grooves. The show started with guitarists Erick Hansel and Erick Hansel, and bassist Esiah Camarena shredding as projections of video games played in the background. 

Chon’s set consisted of a selection from both of its two albums; 2015’s Grow and 2017’s Homey.

August Hall’s high ceilings and immense sound system amplified the band’s calculated, mostly instrumental tracks. A few songs featured vocal performances, such as “Can’t Wait.” Chon’s upbeat, post-hardcore edge showcased a surrealist branch of math rock. Each band member’s uniquely superior technical wizardry seamlessly translated through his instrument, conveying the relaxed, sunny and joyous SoCal vibes.

Chon was preceded by Polyphia, who played a more progressive metal rock set. But like Chon, the Dallas group demonstrated a sound that skillfully mixed the use of technical lead guitars with catchy riffs. Polyphia also incorporated electronic beats that made its set stand out with its alternations between a progressive “Djent” groove to something more laidback. 

Regardless of the sonic shifts, there were mosh pits from start to finish. It felt like an ever-increasing vortex of bodies in the center of the room. Even Polyphias’s bassist had the chance to stagedive and crowdsurf twice during the set.

At one point, the band had fans perform the ever-popular “wall of death,” where the room is split in two and they run into each other at full speed. “Just don’t hurt any of the ladies,” the band encouraged as it introduced new single “G.O.A.T.”

The remainder of the band’s set consisted mostly of songs from EP The Most Hated. Polyphia fought back the pitfalls of modern instrumental metal, which often ends up feeling tedious. The group kept up a groove that felt organic.

TTNG (This Town Needs Guns) featured complex drumming, sparse bass lines and melodic chord progressions. Bassist-singer Henry Treiman’s sentimental lyrics filled the room and guitarist Tim Collis poured out tantalizing triplets like warm rain. While most of the lyrics were melancholy, the melodies were performed with hope and conviction. TTNG played a short set that included well-known single “Adventure, Stamina & Anger.”

Tricot, a math rock, post-rock and pop band from Japan, kicked off the evening. With closed eyes, the trio of female musicians raised their arms together and sang confidently. The set included “Potage,” from Tricot’s 2018 EP, and closed with popular track “Melon Soda,” off the 2017 album 3.

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