Show Review

Yoni & Geti @ Grog Shop 6/4

Lisa Sanchez

​“This is like a living room show” said Yoni, one half of Yoni & Geti, the alternative rap duo from Chicago. The pair performed some of their latest album, Testarossa, at Grog Shop on Saturday, June 4 along with a smattering of songs from Yoni’s other project, Why? as well as a few of Serengeti’s solo raps.

Yoni & Geti opened with “Lunchline,” which for some reason is one of my favorite songs on Testarossa, and kept their stage presence remarkably chill considering this is the first tour where the pair have actually performed onstage together. Armed with two accompanying musicians and Yoni on drums, Yoni & Geti pulled off their multi-layered songs mostly without a hitch.

From there, the band played a couple songs in order from Testarossa. Yoni, who produced the album, told me in our interview last month that he purposefully organized the songs to convey a certain atmosphere on the Testarossa.

While the duo’s set at Grog Shop was loose, they still busted out “Allegheny,” “Madeline,” and “Frank” in album order without missing a beat and still conveying the subtleties in every song, such as the folksy instrumentals on “Madeline” and the trance-like keyboard and percussion in “Allegheny.”

Geti, who raps the majority of the lyrics on Testarossa took center stage at Grog Shop, but he looked utterly relaxed and natural in the venue. Even when Yoni broke into Why? songs that didn’t feature Geti, the rapper still rolled seamlessly with the show.

I’m not familiar with Serengeti’s solo work, but the few songs he did during the Yoni & Geti set impressed me with their lyrical diversity and sincere delivery. Geti’s off shoot Why? songs were no less enjoyable, but I really felt like I got a sense Geti was telling me a story he’s told a thousand times, but still feels mightily compelled to tell it.

There is one song off of Testarossa that has been stuck in my head non-stop since the album’s release in the beginning of May, so when Yoni & Geti played “Wassup (Uh Huh)” I may have become just a little giddy. "Wassup (Uh Huh)" is one of the shortest songs on the album, and it’s basically Yoni and the backup band vocalizing with Geti, who's reciting some light and rhythmic words, but the melody is infectious and honestly, the song is just damn cute. I don’t think it’s about anything concrete, but I want it to be my intro music when I walk into a room.

While the actual members of Yoni & Geti performed very well, I have to give props to the other two gentlemen that did instrumentation for the performance. These two dudes were incredibly talented. At one point I saw their keyboardist/bassist/backup vocalist whistle perfectly while playing the keys and I’m pretty sure there was a maraca in there somewhere. As Yoni said before, Testarossa isn’t an easy album to play live, but the accompanying musicians definitely helped give the songs the depth they deserve.

Yoni mentioned that he enjoys recording his albums on a stage and you can see that in Yoni & Geti’s performance. Even though many people are doing multiple jobs, they all did them admirably well while looking natural and sounding excellent. I can’t say I’ve seen another band like that who’s pulled off that level of atmosphere with that little amount of people.

​I wasn’t sure what to expect from Yoni & Geti’s set given the complexity of Testarossa and both Yoni and Geti’s independent careers, but they need a nice blend of material that represented everyone’s talents well. In the end, I left feeling like I got a variety from the performance and I was impressed with all of it.