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The Why Store anniversary show at Vogue proves these alt-rockers still got it

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JONATHAN SANDERS
  • Jonathan Sanders


Back in 1996 when The Why Store came out on MCA and rocketed “Lack of Water” to the top of the AAA radio charts of the day, few would have expected the band to still be packing the Vogue 20 years later. But the audience I witnessed Friday night for the band's anniversary show was primed for an extended set of all the band's biggest hits.

The band, currently at work promoting its latest release Live at the Slippery Noodle, which features six previously unreleased songs, was in strong form from the beginning, and from the moment they took the stage, every fan in the room rushed to be as close to the stage as possible.

Chris Shaffer was in excellent form, leading the audience in a rousing singalong of “Lack of Water” which put several of the young men dancing wildly next to me nearly into paroxysms of joy, even though they barely looked old enough to have been around when the song was a radio hit in the first place.

Though the show's energy level was at a peak for most of the night, I personally enjoyed the moments where the band dropped back a few notches and let Schaffer take the lead vocally and really showcase his dynamic range. “Lies” was a standout from midway through the band's performance, illustrating what really set them apart during the heat of the mid-90s alternative wave.

It was fitting, meanwhile, that the band chose Endiana to open for them. I, and many in attendance, was surprised to learn that Matthew Aaron and company had never graced the Vogue's storied stage as a band because from the moment they hit the stage, with no introduction, they held the audience in their sway.

Tim Fuller was particularly impressive, opening the night for a handful of songs on upright bass before switching to bass guitar for the remainder of the band's spectacular opening set. But Matthew Aaron proved that he does indeed have the swagger to back up all their songs live. “God Bless Rock 'n' Roll” off the band's new album How to Walk Out, was nothing if not a revelation as the lights focused in on his Jack Daniels-soaked street preacher persona onstage and he let loose with vocals scorched in truth.

Both of these bands ably showcase why Indianapolis music matters, and what has me so excited to see what 2017 has to offer. Each knew what their fans wanted to hear and they delivered a night of top-notch alternative rock that would have outplayed any national headliner.

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