Anticon's flagship rap group, Why? descended on a packed Electric Ballroom in Camden on Tuesday (October, 9 2012) and they didn't disappoint. But we'll take this in the order of the night's events, and start with the excellent support bands. First up were Young Fathers; the fledging Edinburgh based hip-hop trio signed up to the independent L.A based record label recently, and they brought their brand of energetic, frenetic rap to the stage in an excellent support slot. Second were the grumpy electrophiles, NZCA/Lines who provided an accomplished bow for the night's delectations.
We had to wait, and even when WHY? took to the stage, Yoni made a typically dramatic entrance after tender instrumental introduction. Their relatively small, but dedicated fan base hadn't had Mumps long enough to proudly mouth watermelon every song (WHY? fans will get that, I hope), and that was apparent when Yoni spat their more popular tunes: The Hollows and Simian's Dilemma were particular highlights. But it's not as if the new tracks - of which their were ample - disappointed. White English, a tight, meticulously constructed song manifested itself live successfully, and even without the mellifluous strings that sew Distance together; it was a pleasure to behold.
I sometimes get confused when people praise a gig saying "it sounded exactly like it does on the CD!" Do you really want that? WHY? didn't, and that's not to say the vocals were out or the arrangements were off (although the mix on the female vocals for Bitter Thoughts needed work). Conversely, musically: it was excellent, but it was the bespoke interludes and unusual dance moves of Yoni that made it a special occasion rather than a bland recital. That and the beaming smile on Josiah's face, as he rhythmically intertwined his drums opposite Ben Sloane. It's important to see a band loving the occasion as much as the audience, and that genuinely came across. The outstanding Sod In The Seed - a song that debuted on the titular EP - also went down with a rapturous response.
After their faux threats of the show's conclusion, the band re-emerged to play out two of their best songs: A Sky for Shoeing horses under, and Gemini, from their first full studio album, Elephant Eyelash. For the packed out Electric Ballroom audience, who duly sang: "even though I haven't seen you in years, yours is a funeral I'd fly to from anywhere" when Yoni held his microphone out, it was a perfect ending to a great gig.
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