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Why? @ Union Transfer.

February 16, 2013

WHY02Text by Greta Iverson. Images by Evan Kaucher.

WHY03WHY04 WHY05 WHY06Yoni Wolf, Why? lead singer and the goofiest of goobers, pranced around the stage with awkward dancing to the indie-hip-hop music of his band at Union Transfer on Valentines day.

Why? Is a confusing genre mash-up that incorporates a complex rhythmic section (two drummers and plenty of xylophones all over the stage). While some songs feature a 1980’s melody line (“Sod in the seed” from Mumps, etc) others use pretty modern indie-folk music (“Fatalist palmistry” from Alopecia). The band is considered hip-hop by loose definition because of Yoni’s rhythmic vocals. Yoni, sporting a thick and prominent moustache like always, raps about a number of things including conforming (“Crushed bones” from Elephant Eyelash), lost love (“These few presidents” from Alopecia), and suburban isolation (“Sod in the seed” from Mumps, etc).

The band dropped their newest album, Mumps, etc, in December but this late winter tour was not so focused on their newest songs that are picking up in popularity in the indie-sphere. Instead, the band focused on some of their older songs, keeping the die-hard Why? fans at ease with something to sing along to. The band played quite a few songs from Alopecia, an album they put out in 2008, including “The Vowels pt. 2,” “The Hollows,” and “Fatalist palmistry.” As they so often do, the band played a couple of songs from other albums, most notably “Crushed Bones,” “Waterfalls” and “Gemini (Birthday Song)” from 2005’s Elephant Eyelash.

Liz Wolf, the bassist/back-up vocalist and wife of Why?’s drummer, opened with her new solo project, Dream Tiger. Liz’s solo work shows a totally different side of her music and features some psychedelic beats and very dreamy, powerful vocals that capture the audience.

The second opening act, Astronautalis, took the stage with an attitude.

“All right,” said Astronautalis’ Andy Bothwell, “let’s get fuckin’ loud!”

He went through a good 45 minute set with a few songs from previous albums like Pomegranate and This is our science but also provided some new tunes that have yet to be produced. Astronautalis threw down some dope rhymes and impressed the crowd with freestyles about Wawa, a pangolin, porridge and other random shout outs. His voice was sharp and raspy with a super punk-vibe.

About halfway through the show Bothwell stopped himself, talking about how Yoni Wolf was talking up Philly.

“Man, he says that you guys really love us here,” he said. “He said that people crowd surf in Philly.”

Crowd surf? At a Why? show? Only in Philly, apparently.


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