by Angela Brooks
Chicago’s own Whitney delivered a stunning set Thursday night. Composed of seven members, not including the string quartet, the stage was certainly packed and the crowd was buzzing. Members of the audience were cladded with roses to pay homage to the cover of Whitney’s LP, Light Upon the Lake. Following the release of their debut album in June 2016, the band has toured extensively since. After months of having their chart topper “No Woman” stuck in my head, I wanted to see what these Chicago cats were all about.
The set began with drummer and lead singer Julien Ehrlich entering the stage solo. He sat down and performed a heartfelt acapella cover of Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can).” The rest of the band joined to play “Dave’s Song,” which thrilled one boy in particular in the front row. Slowing the vibe down with the acoustic “Red Moon,” the room still swayed along devoid of lyrics. Although less than two-minutes long, the smooth trumpet solo keeps it interesting enough so nobody dozes off after this late set.
Although playing for over an hour, the songs are so short and sweet that it felt like it was over in the blink of an eye. Before the encore, Ehrlich candidly admits they will leave the stage for “15 to 25 seconds” before returning to play three more songs. Finally closing out with “No Woman” and my heart was content. The crowd softly sang back every word and cheerfully danced to the solos after remaining stagnant for the most of the set.
I was slightly hesitant to give Whitney a chance when I first heard their album, but I quickly had a change of heart after hearing them live. They’re one of those bands you just have to see live and they will completely change your perception. Ehrlich’s unique vocals, Max Kakacek’s ability to lay down some groovy guitar solos complete with trumpet, keys, brass (and so many other instruments) come together to form this massive modern-day orchestra that’s just too good to miss when they come to your town.
Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can) – Dolly Parton cover
On the Way Home – Neil Young cover
No Matter Where We Go
Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You – Bob Dylan cover
On My Own
Magnet – NRBQ cover
Light Upon the Lake