If you were lucky enough to be at one of the two sold-out Whitney shows at Great Scott on Sunday, October 9th you witnessed a band in the throes of a breakthrough year, currently on a breakout tour in support of one of my favorite albums of the year, Light Upon The Lake, and having one hell of a good time. The capacity crowd was expecting something great and the Chicago boys did not disappoint.
Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich are no strangers to the music landscape (both were in the fantastic band Smith Westerns and Ehrlich played drums for Unknown Mortal Orchestra) and have toured through Boston as members of each group. Bringing their style and sound together as Whitney has focused a lot of attention on the duo as of late, and with each single released it seems the fan base grows.
As albums go, Light Upon The Lake, is a quick listen. With only 10 songs and clocking in at just under 30 minutes total, you would tend to expect a quick show. Not so however. Kakacek and Ehrlich expand on that breezy feel of the record, adding layers of depth to the tracks we know and love while staying true to the song’s emotional core. The duo, backed by their amazing band, played every song from their debut release and threw in a great cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You,” much to the audience’s delight. The track has become a staple of Whitney’s live show, so much so that I heard someone in the crowd say “I hope they play that Dylan song, I like it better than the original.” That’s some high praise.
After the “last” song of the set Ehrlich stated that this was the moment they usually leave the stage before coming back for the encore. As Great Scott is a small venue with no back stage area he asked that we pretend they went away and that we turn around for a second then turn back. With a funny “and we’re back” line the guys kicked into “No Woman,” a clear fan favorite that ended the show and sent us all back into the rainy night with smiles on our faces.
Opening the evening were Bloomington, Indiana’s Hoops and they did a pretty stellar job bringing their summer sounds to a chilly Boston crowd. The set consisted of songs from their three excellent EPs, all released this year, and they quickly got the early show crowd’s attention with their well crafted songs. I love when opening bands that are great, and Hoops exceeded expectations.
Check out the images our very own Steve Benoit of Boston Concert Photography took of the evening below and be sure to catch Whitney and Hoops when they are in your town.