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Whitney Concert Review (2017)

May 1st, 2017
The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS

Julien Ehrlich of Whitney
The Chicago country-soul saviors in Whitney made their second trip to Lawrence, Kansas on Monday evening. The group's first visit last year made for a solid performance, but a disappointing turnout. It was evident upon walking into Monday night's show that word had been spread effectively this time around as a couple hundred packed The Bottleneck's dancefloor.

The band is beginning to wind down after a long run of American tour dates and as any musician or dedicated fan of live music knows, not every show is a winner. Vocalist/drummer Julien Ehrlich made note of this early on in the show, but prefaced this comment by lauding the crowd as being a very fun one to play for. In fact, there wasn't a quiet, sad, or awkward moment to be had the entire set in. Playful banter from the band was met with lighthearted jokes and encouragement from their fans.

Ben Schwab of Golden Daze
In addition to the banter, the group engaged in other gleeful antics including renewing the tradition of an on-stage kiss between Ehrlich and bassist Josiah Marshall during "Polly" and a round of Smirnoff Ice being delivered to each band member by the opening act Golden Daze. Ehrlich announced that he'd only be drinking half of his bottle or it would "fuck the whole show up."

The overall strap atop Ehrlich's right shoulder was perpetually sliding down his arm throughout the band's set as he and Marshall provided steady, thoughtful rhythms. Guitarist Max Kakacek shined bright as ever, articulating gorgeous slide guitar solos before tossing the tool aside to pick up right where the song left off.

The evening's setlist included a healthy chunk of the band's sole LP "Light Upon The Lake," along with covers of Dolly Parton's "Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can)" and Lion's "You've Got A Woman." Ehrlich's warm falsetto also made the band's take on "Magnet" by NRBQ considerably more magical than the original. Fans were also treated to an unreleased song titled "Rolling Blackout" which will appear on the band's next album in 2018.

Much like Whitney, Los Angeles' Golden Daze began as a duo as well. Anchored by Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb, the group opened the show with 30 minutes of sunny, laid-back indie rock that wasn't quite challenging, but succeeded in setting the mood.

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