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Concert Review: CHON at Playstation Theater, NYC
by Evan Cheung

CHON is a four-piece progressive rock band from San Diego, California. In the past, they have toured with bands such as Animals as Leaders, Dance Gavin Dance, and The Fall of Troy. I first saw CHON in 2015 at Webster Hall in New York. They put on a great show, and I even got to meet some of the members afterwards. Since then, I have seen them four more times, and each time they would put on a better show. On June 8th, I saw them perform at the Playstation Theater in New York City for their Super CHON Bros 2 tour. The show itself was awesome. CHON brought great energy to the stage, and the consistent quality of the show served as a reminder of why I’ve been a fan all these years.

There were three opening acts that played before CHON went on. The first was Tricot, an upbeat Japanese rock band from Kyoto, Japan. Unfortunately, my friend and I arrived at the venue during their last song, but judging from the crowd’s reaction, they put on a good show. The next band was TTNG, a British math rock band that I’ve been into since high school. Math rock is a subgenre of rock that is defined by intricate chord progressions and odd-time signatures, and these features could be heard in their music. Their set was a mix of old and new songs, and their performance matched the sound quality of their albums. At one point, my friend’s expression was one of awe during one of the guitarist’s virtuosic solos. He has since told me that he has listened to most of their albums. Seeing one of my favorite bands and converting a friend to their music was an incredibly validating experience for me.

Polyphia, a progressive metal band from Texas, was next on deck. I saw them live when they opened for CHON during their Super CHON Bros tour back in 2016, so I knew what to expect from them. In comparison to TTNG’s low-key set, Polyphia’s high energy was apparent the moment they walked on stage. Being a metal band, their set was super heavy, and it was common for mosh pits to break out during their set. Despite being a metal band, their music is highly melodic. Some songs like “Champagne” and “Crush” feature very catchy guitar and bass riffs. Their most recent single is called “LIT,” and the performance they put on is true to that title. Their energetic set served as a good segue into the main act.

CHON’s entrance was preceded by a remix of the hammer music from Super Smash Bros that seamlessly transitioned into “Wave Bounce,” an upbeat prog rock bop off their latest album Homey. From there, the band’s set was a medley of chill songs like “No Signal” and “The Space” and bangers like “Puddle” and “Story.” In the middle of their set, Mario, the lead guitarist, asked the crowd to form the infamous “wall of death” where the crowd splits down the middle of the pit and converges during the song’s breakdown. I was situated towards the far right, and as people began backing into me, I realized too late that I was being sandwiched into a pillar. As the walls closed in on me, I locked eyes with my buddy like Mac and Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I said, “Well, it was nice knowing you” before disappearing into a deluge of sweaty bodies.

Fortunately, I squeezed out of my predicament and enjoyed the rest of the show. The band “ended” with their song “Bubble Dream” before heading backstage. At this point, the crowd feverishly chanted for an encore. Being a five-time veteran of their shows, I knew exactly what was coming. They eventually returned to the stage and played “Can’t Wait,” a wistful prog rock ballad off their album Grow that distinguishes itself as one of two CHON songs with vocals. Finally, they ended the show with their fan-favorite banger “Perfect Pillow” (Woo!).

CHON’s performance at the Playstation Theater was amazing. Seeing the band grow since their show at Webster Hall has been an incredibly gratifying experience for me. Despite a few changes in their lineup, the band has maintained the same quality in their music. I listen to their music on almost a daily basis, and I frequently use their music as inspiration to become a better musician myself. The bros at CHON will always be homeys to me, and I can’t wait to see them perform again in the future.