While the bass was so loud at the Echoplex that even my soul was shaking, I remembered the one thing my typical Jewish Mom always said to me, “Hey, when you grow up I want you to drop out of art school and start a hip hop/rock group.” Oh wait — No that wasn’t her. That never even would have been an utterance out of an incubating thought bubble belonging to her. Yoni Wolf of Why? though, may tell a different story as he travels that very path, embarking on a musical endeavor with his brother Josiah Wolf, Doug McDiamid, and Liz Hodson. On this hot, sticky, summer Tuesday evening the rowdy crowd at the Echoplex called out for their band to come to the stage. Surges of fists and cat calls deliberately dotted the thick drenched air as the humidity in this small space reached epic proportions. The sweat was so ubiquitous, it was like watching a scene right out of A Time To Kill.
Frontman Yoni Wolf took his spot on the stage in a graphic airbrushed muscle tee (with ample sweat vents). And with this, began the curious sounds of Why?; xylophones and clackers opened the set to provide the unique background stylings for Yoni’s raps. Why? is a coexistence of two styles which usually never travel hand in hand: catchy melodies and quiet yet inviting backing vocals play a nice antagonist to Wolf’s lyrical rhymes. Songs of simple human observation posed references to family Bat Mitzvahs and tired, pathetic adults. His style conjures memories of late 80s and early 90s rap when the medium was a basis for storytelling and artists cleverly weaved their words so as to form intimate, relateable human connections with listeners. A time before rap lost its soul to the cash register chimes of the 808 drum. The band’s musical flow, in particular, was showcased while performing their latest single Johnathan’s Hope. Here Wolf displays a distinct cadence that unmistakably denotes his lineage as the son of a rabbi. Why? is a surprising mix of unorthodox indie pop and honest observations which have now cultivated in the bands’ newest LP Mumps, Etc set for release October 8.
And if you’d like more of me, check out
Sod In The Seed