Whitney Kick-off at UMS 2016

List of annual obligations:

1.     Get teeth cleaned. Have panic attack because the dentist is fucking scary.

2.     Attend physical. Cry about it later.

3.     Renew license plates. Remember the DMV triggers claustrophobia.

4.     Pay taxes. Cry some more.

5.     Get rid of old shit. Become a hoarder instead.

6.     Consider living in the woods to avoid 1-5


 Photo: Brett Willhelm 

Photo: Brett Willhelm 

Perk up pessimistic pansies! It’s almost the end of July. The four days of the year that rival all others are upon us. It’s time for the Underground Music Showcase: the annual celebration that ensures our sanity... the wicked party to be remembered when whining about annual check-ups and dental appointments... it's the festival we can count on, who holds our hair when we’re puking in a rank dive-bar toilet. Times were surely grim for people in the dark ages (pre-UMS). Fortunately, those days are left to rot in the past with creepy Furbies and mullets. Hip-hip for UMS 2016! This year’s festivities are sure to kick ass once again!

Though UMS is a raging party marked by singing, dancing, and sweaty drunks, for many attendees, the weekend represents something greater. UMS is a space for sharing the intimate byproducts of human creativity. These bands leave pieces of themselves on every stage they play. They sing of heartbreak and love, of rejection and success, of sorrow and unexplainable happiness. They sing of things we cannot fathom and things we know too well. This is why I love the Underground Music Showcase. I am reminded to feel unapologetically, because feeling does not make me separate or alone. We all feel, and feeling is wonderful.

Who better to commence the feel-fest than Chicago band Whitney? Formed by Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek of ex-band Smith Westerners, the seven-member band released their deeply emotional debut album in June.

 Photo: Sandy Kim 

Photo: Sandy Kim 

At the formation of the band, both members were dealing with multiple breakups; parting ways with their former band and their first loves. As such, Light Upon the Lake explores trials of the heart. Ehrlich and Kakacek were band-less, girlfriendless, and even temporarily homeless going into one of the harshest Chicago winters on record. Apparently, these are the optimal conditions for writing an authentic, lovable album. “Golden Days”, my favorite track, was written and sent to both their ex-girlfriends. Kakacek explains, “It wasn’t a sense of getting back together, more like – I sent you this, and now we can be friends, and everything’s cool.”

Whitney's melody driven music exhibits Americana, country, and rock influences. Both Ehrlich and Kakacek openly admit to being country boys, seeing beauty in open spaces rather than high-rises.  

Not to name drop, but Ehrilich also played in Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Light Upon the Lake was recorded by Foxygen’s Jonathon Rado. I am totally name-dropping. What I mean to say is, Whitney is the real deal, AND they’re kicking off the Underground Music Showcase at 3 Kings Tavern July 29th. 

Don’t be a ninny and wait till Thursday to initiate UMS! Arrive early to ensure your spot at Whitney. Come sing and dance and feel! You brushed your teeth and paid your taxes. You’ve earned it! So now, let’s have a good time. Cheers! 

Written by: Haley Midzor