WHY? @ The Loft: Review

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“When does why start” is a very confusing text message to wake up to, unless you are familiar with the verbal confusion that accompanies having a favorite band whose name is one of the “five W’s.”

I’ve written about WHY? a time or two in the past and I have introduced their unique and eccentric sound to nearly all of my closest friends. I greatly admire Yoni Wolf’s poetic prowess and the ability of his brother, Josiah Wolf, to play a drum kit that includes a xylophone. WHY?’s live show never ceases to amaze me.

The most recent WHY? show that I attended took place at The Loft at UCSD last Thursday. I assumed that The Loft would be a very small coffee shop type of place and that maybe 20 or 30 people would attend and it would be a pretty easy-going night – buy my assumptions were far from the reality of the situation at hand.

The line to see WHY? was about four people wide and went all the way to the end of the hall, at which point it began to snake around to the front. I was shocked, solely because I didn’t know the band had such a big fan base in San Diego. I mean, nobody ever knows who I’m talking about when I name WHY? as my favorite band, so why should I assume that the line at The Loft would be so long as to cause the show to start about an hour and a half late?

After my friends and I finally made it inside The Loft, I was impressed by the modernity of it’s architectural and interior design, as well as it’s size, the presence of a bar and it’s abundance of seating (though, who really wants to sit at a live show like WHY?’s).

The band began their set around midnight with “January Twenty Something,” a track from their new album, “Eskimo Snow.” The sparkling notes coming from the xylophone and keyboard, eventually accented by the deep boom of the drums, was an effective way to start a set that began so late. The speed at which they played and Yoni Wolf’s movements, reminiscent of a crazy maestro, shook me out of the “long line daze” I was stuck in.

What I found most interesting about the show was that WHY? played only four songs from their new album. Most of the set consisted of songs from the older counterpart to “Eskimo Snow,” “Alopecia,” which, in my opinion, has the best songs WHY? has ever created.

The live version of “By Torpedo or Crohn’s” differed slightly from the album version. It sounded as though it were in a higher key, yet Yoni Wolf’s voice remaimed the same and he delivered his lyrics both honestly and flawlessly. I was pleasantly surprised when, towards the end of the show, they jumped right into the extremely short yet impressive track, “Twenty Eight.” Thought it is only about a minute long, it’s a standout track on “Alopecia” and hits listeners hard when it’s played at a very loud volume.

To many longtime fans’ amusement, the band played two of their most popular songs from albums much older than “Alopecia” and “Eskimo Snow.” The tracks “Gemini (Birthday Song)” and “Sanddollars” had the audience singing along with even more fervor than they already had been.

The show was sprinkled with a variety of rude comments from members of the crowd, which bordered on being too much. But there were a few other members of the crowd that made me extremely happy. There was a guy directly across from me on the other side of the stage that moved to the beat in the way one might move at a Jay-Z show. He was a little intense. Then there was the girl next to me who was dancing uncontrollably throughout the duration of the show. I’ve never seen a bubblier concert-goer.

WHY? have proved themselves to be one of the coolest and most promising up-and-coming bands of today. I’m excited to see what big name festivals they will play in the next few years because, in my opinion, they have Coachella potential.