by Holli Stephens
Monday night concerts are either a hit or miss. People are typically just getting back into the flow of a five-day work schedule or have school classes to worry about. The streets that are on the weekends filled with noisy people lay barren and are a bit on the creepy side. As I walked into the dark floor space at Union Transfer I tried to keep this in mind, but to my surprise there was a good amount of adolescents scattered in clusters for openers Grimace Confederation and Dessa.
A night class had kept me from getting to see Grimace Confederation but a friend described them to me as “ambient EDM that was very dreamy”. Dessa was daintily dressed in a sheer black shirt and a girly ponytail that banded bunches of her hair together. Accompanying her on stage was a band that consisted of an upright bass, guitar, synth, and keyboard. As Dessa’s set began I noticed a twinkle in her eye that seemed to let people like me who aren’t as familiar with her music know that she was about to blow minds. Like WHY? Dessa incorporates rap and singing into most of her songs, but her style is on the darker side. She delighted fans with “The Lamb” and “Seamstress” among many other songs that showcased her lyrical flow.
WHY? had previously announced on Facebook that this tour was going to the last one for at least a year and so their set was very bittersweet. The band that consisted of Yoni Wolf, Josiah Wolf, Doug McDiarmid, Liz Wolf, Ben Sloan, and Matt Meldon covered a wide repertoire of WHY? albums that varied from their 2008 release, Alopecia, to their 2012 release Mumps, Etc.
The way Yoni Wolf was able to combine rap and segue into a singing voice for choruses and vice versa is an element to his style that I really admire. From my previous interview with Wolf I came to the conclusion that you can’t label WHY? music. Wolf pieces together a song whichever way he sees is best and the result is something genuine and incredible to see in a live setting.
It was amazing to see that many fans consistently sing along to Yoni Wolf as he statically danced around stage to songs like “Strawberries”, “Good Friday”, “The Fall of Mr. Fifths”, “These Few Presidents” and “The Vowels, Pt. 2”. After concluding the set with “Paper Hearts” the audience cried a synchronized scream of “One more song!”. Wolf then appeared at the mic and said, “You guys are a beautiful blue. Indigo!” and in response got more yells of approval. He then slyly said, “If you’re nice we’ll do another one, according to your needs.”
It seemed each time Wolf spoke the volume of the crowd would rise by another decibel. After playing through “White English” he asked, “Would you like one more?” and after hearing the screams of approval said, “Fair enough!” before ending the night with “Simeon’s Dilemma”.