Whitney: A Breath of Fresh Air

After a banner year of world domination, Whitney returned home to Chicago for an intimate set at Reckless Records

Words & Photos by Elliott Michael Crifasi

Chicago, Il — The rock ‘n’ roll music scene has been longing for a band like Whitney for far too long. They are a breath of fresh air to the stagnant scene dominated by aggressive tunes and heavy sound. Whitney is lead by Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, and behind them is a group of extremely talented players including Will Miller on the trumpet, bassist Josiah Marshall, Malcolm Brown on the keys, and rhythm guitar player Print Chouteau.

They performed at Reckless Records in Wicker Park this past Saturday and it was a pleasant change of pace to a more intimate setting, considering they have routinely been selling out shows worldwide, including two nights at Thalia Hall this weekend.

Max Kakacek tuning his guitar

They started off with one of the songs that got them widespread recognition — “Golden Days”, a wistful song about lost love and past times. Julien — or Jules — is a power player unlike any I’ve seen. He plays the drums with such energy while also blessing us with his light-hearted voice. Whitney’s music blends together so smoothly, it has you thinking that they have been doing this their whole lives. The songs are full of warm guitar riffs and classy brass, energetic percussion, and beautiful keys.

Max and Will

The most interesting part of the show was the performance of “Polly” where Julien and Josiah meet up for a passionate kiss as Will is killing his brass solo.

Will Miller playing brass

Whitney keeps the vibe light, even during some of the darker songs. This creates an interesting sound that you simply can’t get enough of. They were supposed to play a shortened set, but they ended up blessing us all with a full set featuring some covers of Bob Dylan and “Magnet” by NRBQ.

Julien Ehrlich playing drums and singing “Golden Days”

Whitney is exactly what the music scene needed. They bring a light, soulful sound to rock ‘n’ roll which is reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s that I can’t get enough of. They have me playing their debut album “Light Upon the Lake” endlessly. If you haven’t yet picked up their record I suggest you do, it is a piece of history.

Check out some videos and more photos below from the Reckless Records in-store performance.

A full crowd at Reckless Records

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