Polyphia at The Hall in Little Rock, AR

Polyphia brought down the house in front of a sold-out crowd of rock fans at The Hall in Little Rock.

Little Rock, AR, is not necessarily a place you would think of as a haven for progressive rock but that didn’t stop 1,300+ fans from packing into The Hall for Polyphia. The crowd erupted as the band entered a pitch-black stage and opened the set with “Loud” from 2017’s The Most Hated.

Since coming onto the scene with 2014’s Muse, Polyphia has moved from being more metal-based to leaning full force into the “progressive” part of progressive rock. Newer work contains influences from funk, electronic music, trap, and hip-hop. However, the guitar playing of Tim Henson and Scott LePage remains the driving force of the band’s music.

Henson brought out his signature Ibanez nylon-string guitar for “Chimera” from their most recent release, Remember That You Will Die. The dichotomy between Henson’s flamenco playing and LePage’s heavy riffs makes it seem like they’re playing completely different songs. However, they somehow make it work.

Sometimes lost in the amazing guitar playing of Henson and LaPage is the excellent rhythm section of Clay Gober (bass) and Clay Aeschliman (drums). Gober is an amazingly technical bass player, not only providing a groove but very technical riffs as well (“Playing God”). Meanwhile, Aeschliman often takes on very fast and complicated drumming parts that, when isolated, are mind-blowing (“Icronic”).

Extra security was notably present in the venue to accommodate the number of expected crowd surfers, and the crowd did not disappoint in this regard. Throughout the entire show both young and old, male and female, were up on the hands of their fellow attendees and then over the rail into the arms of security.

“Champagne” provided a highlight of the night as LePage invited the capacity crowd to “Sing The Riff” throughout the song. When a band has no permanent vocalist, you have to get a little creative to manufacture your crowd sing-alongs. LePage let everyone know how it would go, then ran through the riff a few times before the crowd became the third guitar player in an amazing rendition of the Muse track.

The lack of a vocalist on stage really goes unnoticed as the guitar work of LePage and Henson acts as the defect singer of the band. The riffs are all singable and Henson’s lead playing is truly revolutionary. It’s easy to how he has become a huge guitar figure for the new generation of players.

With the night starting to wind down, the band had one more request for the crowd. Before signing off with “G.O.A.T.” from 2018’s New Levels New Devils, LePage let everyone know that the time for the “Wall of Death” was here. The crowd divided perfectly down the middle, probably 10 feet apart, and when the first riff hit, bodies flew into each other from both sides of the floor.

As the lights went up, both the band and fans applauded each other with arms raised. This is a show that won’t be forgotten by fans in Little Rock for quite some time.

Polyphia’s most recent album, Remember That You Will Die, can be heard on Rise Records.

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About Trae Roberts 10 Articles
Trae Roberts is a concert photographer living and working in Arkansas.