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Tom Carbone, Forum Wire Service, Published February 21 2013

WHY? brings nationwide tour to Fargo

FARGO – Playing a show in a smaller venue such as Fargo is decidedly different than playing in places like Brooklyn or Boston, at least according to Yoni Wolf, creator and front man of the Cincinnati, Ohio, band WHY?

The four-piece hip-hop/indie rock band is currently on a nationwide tour and will stop Sunday in Fargo at The Aquarium.

“(On this tour,) we’re hitting some of the places we’ve skipped over the past few tours or places we haven’t been for a while,” Wolf said.

Chris Hennen, promoter at The Aquarium, said this is the third time the band has played the venue, and he expects it to be packed.

Packed can mean a few different things for WHY? Before hitting Fargo, the band will have played sold-out shows in New York City, Baltimore and other big East Coast cities. But a smaller crowd doesn’t necessarily mean a worse show, Wolf says.

“The vibe tends to be different, not better or worse,” Wolf says. “It depends on the place, the venue and the audience, of course, to determine what the vibe is like. The audience has the most say in what the vibe is like that night.”

And what kind of vibe can Fargo expect from WHY? on Sunday? An intriguing one.

WHY? is known for Yoni Wolf’s intricate, verbose lyrics, which are delivered as a nasal rap or sung. Wolf started out recording in his bedroom in the early 2000s, using keyboards and drum machines as the background for his witty, pensive raps. Wolf has a way of turning everyday observations and thoughts into highly relatable lyrics.

On their most recent album, Wolf starts “The Sod In The Seed” bluntly, like he often does. “Let’s review some recent facts. I make decent cash. I’m a minor star, and we can’t last if she don’t drive a hybrid car.”

WHY? has built up a decent following over the past eight years, releasing four full-length albums and a handful of EPs, all while on a constant diet of yearly tours. The lyrics on his new album tend to reflect that.

“Mumps, Etc.,” the band’s most recent album, released in 2012, takes everything the band has done and builds upon it, in their most highly polished work to date.

Their Fargo show will feature a lot of songs from “Mumps, Etc.,” but fans can also expect to see some of WHY?’s older work as well.

“I think lyrically it’s my most highly achieved work, which makes sense. I’m getting older, doing it more. And the older you get, the better you get.”

As they hit the road for a countrywide tour that ends in Austin, Texas, for the SXSW festival, Wolf says the group is looking forward to warm cities. But he knows that Fargo won’t be particularly warm in February. He’s excited about Fargo for a different reason.

“I like those kinds of places. Dublin is like that, Japan is like that. There are certain places that are a little bit cut off, a little bit hard to get to,” he says.

“The people there are usually really awesome and appreciative because they know you chose to go there and went out of your way.”


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