It’s no secret that I’ve not always managed to maintain an icy exterior of journalistic unbias in the face of Why? and the casual observer, who’s read my interview with Yoni Wolf– I’m nothing if not optimistic- may question my ability to keep a keen and dispassionate reviewer’s eye when watching their gig at the Old Market in Hove on tonight. And okay, fine: they’d probably be right to. (I’m positioned somewhere near the front, staunchly holding my ground.) They’d be harder pressed, however, to challenge the hordes of fans wedged in behind me, who now stand awaiting the appearance of Yoni Wolf on stage tonight, flanked by an extended line up, including two drummers, who’ve already taken their places.
When he does arrive, he is met by the kind of rapt attention that preachers in the Bible Belt can usually expect from their congregation. Then he opens his mouth and out pour the acid observations of mortality, recent sicknesses and other thoughts of life on this mortal coil that dominated latest album, Mumps, Etc, as he spits his way through the likes of Strawberries and Jonathon’s Hope, and suddenly we are all reminded of exactly why our breasts our pushing into that guy in front’s back.
Pausing only when his band mates take over for musical interludes, during which time he stops sporadically bouncing from one end of the stage to another and instead bops around the five other members of Why? who now make up the band, he works his way through a set list that comprises a hefty dose of the long awaited new material with some of the favourites from past albums.
Wolf’s charisma as a front man is undeniable, yet his band mates, providing the indie rock backing to Wolf’s stream of black humour, aren’t in any way in danger of being overshadowed. As the night progresses, the venue begins to feel all too cramped, as we’re gradually nudged further toward the stage. Tonight, Why? more than delivered.