Serengeti and Yoni Wolf’s second collaborative full-length, Testarossa, is a concept album speaking to the difficulty inherent in maintaining a relationship across distance, specifically in a profession requiring perpetual travel, and of the longing, infidelity, and self-destruction that often goes with the territory. It began as a screenplay the duo penned on tour, and it plays out in a live setting as an abstract, nonlinear soundtrack to a film.
...off of Yoni & Geti's Testarossa
One of Serengeti's many stage quirks is an early suggestion that the set is almost over. At the Casbah he waited a full 30 minutes before dropping the hint, which prompted a "Stop saying that!" rebuttal from Yoni that sounded somewhere between frustration and jest. Thankfully the set continued for another half hour, buoyed by Yoni, Doug McDiarmid, and Matt Meldon, half of WHY?'s touring band. Having watched Serengeti perform twice a year since 2012, I can say he has never seemed looser or happier onstage than he does with Yoni & Geti. The primal screams, goofy dances, and improvisational finishes to songs all suggest he's having a time.
A couple classic WHY? and Serengeti tracks found their way into the mix, and the Casbah crowd was onboard. Yoni and Doug lent extra gravitas to the vocally complex hook of “Long Ears,” from the Serengeti album Family & Friends, while WHY?’s “Brook & Waxing” prompted the biggest pop of the night. Geti then held out the mic for audience members to individually duet with Yoni on "Rubber Traits." "I want a patch of blue sky to follow me!" a young fan belted out near the close of the second verse.
Serengeti reemerged after the band set down their instruments to close the night with the hilarious Chicago-centric track "Dennehy" in character as Kenny Dennis, followed by "Rhythm of Devotion," the standout track from his 2014 Sisyphus record alongside Son Lux and Sufjan Stevens. The mic seemed to cut out near the tail end of the latter, but it didn't matter, as Geti grinned and held his arms to the sky leading his followers in the song's "DEEE-VOOO-SHUN" reprise.
Concert: Yoni & Geti
Date: July 19