Sunday, 14 October 2012

Why? @ Central Methodist Hall, 10.10.12

Hot on the heels of their latest release Mumps, Etc., kooky alt-hip-hoppers Why? stopped for a night in the centre of Manchester to engage with the rabble (as always happens at Why? gigs) in one big long glorious sing-along.

Let me just say, Central Methodist Hall has to be one of the strangest venues I've visited. Nestled right in the centre of Manchester it's a bizarre mix of musty office corridors and that faded creaking sadness that you find in most church halls. Down one of the corridors to the toilets there's a giant MDF crucifix and the stage is tiny. Yet, for some reason, modestly successful and popular band Why? is playing tonight... Yeah I don't understand it either. Nevermind.

The support was a four piece rap act called Young Fathers. They seemed a bit like the kind of vaguely inoffensive hip hop Blue Peter might put on if it's feeling daring with the censors. Frankly, they weren't great but the poor sound from the speakers made it worse.

Opening with the first song from their new album Mumps, Etc., Why? frontman Yoni Wolf swaggered around the stage throwing down his wordplays whilst the band bounced along joyfully behind him. The bulk of the setlist was from Mumps with the odd classic from older albums Alopecia and Elephant Eyelash thrown in. The biggest cheers were for the famous tracks ‘The Hollows’ and ‘The Vowels Pt.2’ but Yoni and the band held each song together pretty well. Their main foe wasn't each other, nor the song choice, but the venue sound.

Don't get me wrong, I loved the gig. The highlight was... everything. Seriously, every song, even the ones I would have expected to not work so well live, were all incredibly enjoyable. The decision to go for mostly new material and only a few call-backs to the fan favourites was a ballsy one but it worked. The interplay between the heavier and more serious tones of Mumps with the unashamed bombast of Alopecia worked incredibly well in changing the pace enough to always keep it fresh. As an added bonus Yoni’s ridiculous dance moves always raised a big cheer from the laughing crowd.

To see Why? again is always a treat and always fun. But the sound let them down a fair bit making some songs feel lacking when they could have really exploded. Of course, this isn't the band's fault, but sadly Yoni was a ladies man when, with the right sound, he could have been a landmine. (This terrible joke only makes sense if you listen to 'The Vowels pt.2'. Seriously though, it’s an awesome song.)

Words & images: Alex Adams

No comments:

Post a Comment