The stage is foggy, the heads in the crowd are bobbing slowly, the lyrics are carrying through the air. It is the second night—March 23—of the 2017 installment of Treefort Music Fest, and WHY? is performing at El Korah Shrine.
WHY?, a spoken word artist or a rock band depending on whom you ask, kept the Treefort party going with their late night harmonies and multi-colored stage lighting.
“I’m excited to see him just speak his mind,” said Boise community member Shylah Jones before frontman and founder Jonathan Wolf and bandmates took the stage. Jones has been a fan since high school, and said she was excited to see WHY? live at Treefort because she had never been able to see them before.
The band, rendered silhouettes by a hazy stage and colorful lighting which faced the crowd, walked out to their instruments greeted by cheers from the audience.
The show began with slowly growing energy and songs from recent release “Moh Lhean” pulsing through the chatty, cheerful crowd. The hazy visual aesthetic made it easy to focus on the musical and poetic qualities of the performance, and for several minutes the crowd pensively listened.
The room became fully charged four songs later, with the opening notes of “These Few Presidents,” a staple song of 2008 album “Alopecia,” which showgoer and Boise State student Megan Freeman said she had thought was a “raunchy and cool” album when she was 18 years old.
After playing several more songs, the WHY? exited the stage. They then returned for an encore.
“We’re gonna do some old stuff acoustic,” the band said, huddled around one microphone at center stage. The volume on the speakers was low, but enthusiastic Treefort-goers sang along with every detailed, poetic lyric.