WHY? – Electric Ballroom, London

Welcome to the mind of Yoni Wolf. It’s a pretty place filled with bright lights, xylophone chymes, kitten vests and tales of men fucking in Berlin parking lots. Yoni Wolf started fusing his unique blend of quirky rap/pop under the monicker WHY? back in the early 2000s, and since then his musical brainchild has swelled to a full four piece band. WHY? have a hard sound to pin down, Wolf’s erudite rapping style waxes over big beats and punchy melodic choruses and this was unleashed with full force from the stage of Camden’s Electric Ballroom tonight. The band have amped up their sound for their recent tour dates with the addition of an extra drummer and synth… and it works. As the house lights dimmed and a red hue enveloped the stage, the band came on (without Wolf) and began an off-beat instrumental. Then Wolf bust from out of nowhere (or the back of the stage), effortlessly grabbed the mic and immediately launched into ‘Good Friday’. No need to tell you the crowd erupted into an ocean of whoops and enthusiastic head bobs and joined Wolf in the opening lines of ‘if you grew up with white boys who only look at black and puerto rican porno / ‘cos they want something that their Dad don’t got’. After storming through latest single ‘Strawberries’, what followed was a series of highlights from sophomore Alopecia and new material from their latest album Mumps, etc. peppered with a few choice cuts from the more melodic and less rap heavy Eskimo Snow. The band rose their already high game half way through the set when they launched into ‘The Vowels Pt.2’, ‘Sod In The Seed’ and guaranteed crowd pleaser ‘The Hollows’, all songs that show off Wolf’s slick delivery and the melodic pop friendly penmanship of the rest of the band. WHY? finished off the show by calling for the house lights to be turned up and taking a picture of the whole crowd (a ritual of the current tour) before launching into Alopecia stand-out ‘Fatalist Palmistry’ and classic track ‘Gemini (Birthday Song)’. All in all, spending an hour nestled in the mind of Yoni Wolf was pretty amazing. I’d like to vist it again sometime.

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