Indie-rock group Whitney embarked on their run of shows in the Midwest on Monday night, first stopping at Turner Hall in Milwaukee. Following their impressive show at Summerfest this year, concert attendees packed the ballroom for a night of unique music dubbed as ‘county-soul.’
The evening began with four-piece rock band, NE-HI. Sharing their roots of Chicago with the members of Whitney, it was clear that the two acts had a much deeper connection than simply supporting each other on tour. The appreciation each group had for each other contributed to the wholesome and lightheartedness tone of the show.
From the first note of NE-HI’s set, it was clear that their energetic stage presence would be their trademark. With heavy drums, bass, and plucky-guitar, NE-HI’s basement-style rock played a perfect partner to Whitney’s less-is-more musical style. Fans of Whitney responded appropriately to the punk-influenced anthems, dancing and screaming to every song. NE-HI left the crowd of Millennials satisfied and energetic for more impressive music.
Whitney then took the stage in true-Whitney style; calm and easygoing. Greeted by a roar of cheering and applause from eager fans, the group opened with “Dave’s Song” from hit album “Light Upon the Lake.” Front man Julien Ehrlich nailed his trademark high falsetto while the crowd competed by singing each word from their discography.
Despite the 7,000 square foot venue, Whitney played as if the show was a private house show, bantering and joking with the crowd between each song. Ehrlich’s comedic exchanges with the audience made gaps between songs into what felt at times like a stand-up set, contributing to the lively and entertaining vibe of the set. The casual tone of the evening lead to laid-back but impressive night of music.
Openers NE-HI later joined Whitney onstage for the “na-na-na” melody of nostalgic-hit “Golden Days.” With both the crowd’s enthusiasm, Will Miller’s impressive trumpet skills, and NE-HI’s backing vocals belting the signature notes of the chorus, “Golden Days” became a clear highlight of the set.
Being from Chicago, Whitney made sure to also display their Midwestern love by including a short intermission for the bandmembers to change into Milwaukee Bucks attire and to ask the crowd about the score of the game that night. Ehrlich described their visit to the Milwaukee Bucks arena across the street and continued to proclaim his love for the city, making sure to note that the Chicago Bulls were not his basketball team-of-choice.
As promised by Ehrlich, the group briefly left the stage for a pre-planned encore following the crowd’s audible yearning for more music. Ehrlich and guitarist Max Kakacek returned to the stage by performing a stripped-down and intimate performance of Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry.”
Whitney closed the energetic set with the signature opening synth notes of “No Woman,” eliciting audible excitement and recognition from the crowd. The combination of the audience’s enthusiasm with Whitney’s unique sound, crowd interaction, and an impressive opening band made for a night of music to be remembered forever among attendees.
- Dave’s Song
- No Matter Where We Go
- On the Way Home (Neil Young cover)
- Red Moon
- Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Bob Dylan cover)
- Golden Days
- On My Own
- Light Upon the Lake
- The Falls
- Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can) (Dolly Parton cover)
- Rolling Blackout
- Play Video
- Magnet (NRBQ cover)
- No Woman