Chicago based band, Whitney, was born when a band called Smith Westerns broke up in 2014, and Julian Ehrlich and Max Kakacek took each of their strong suits and whipped them into a new band: Indie, country, pop hybrid, Whitney. Ehrlich, former drummer of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, has a unique voice that is showcased in his role as front man. Placed at the center of the stage, this made for a kind of unconventional set up, but it added to the ingenuity of a band where the drummer sings lead vocals. Kakacek is a guitar wizard, and brings his knowledge forth to create the other half of the writing duo that has won hearts of hipsters everywhere. Since releasing Light Upon the Lake in June 2016, Whitney toured nearly nonstop, Denver being one of many cities wielding multiple nights.
Although Ehrlich mentioned he had somewhat of a sinus infection while gracing Denver’s Bluebird Theater with their presence, he tried hard to fight back, and it was apparent in his performance. Ehrlich even said, “Performing feels natural,” despite the unfortunate condition of his sinuses. The slightly whiny sound quality to his voice may be off putting to some, but it has a realness that came off especially well live, sick or not. The band’s simple, catchy, and emotional lyrics cover typical topics like love and loss, but range in sound, keeping something reminiscent sounding, new and fresh.
“No Woman” is the hit, and slowed down slightly was a perfect encore. Imaginative covers of Neil Young, Dolly Parton, and Bob Dylan songs showed the bands ability to do something away from their genre, while also bringing forth some of their inspiration for the audience to interact directly with. “No Matter Where We Go” got everyone in the crowd swaying and thinking about driving around during the summer nights with their honey, and I wouldn’t say that there was a dull moment at Sunday night’s sold out show.
Words: Lina Skrzypczak Images: Meesh Deyden