Tag Archives: Julien Ehrlich

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At Brooklyn Steel Whitney Prove Why They Continue to Get Bigger

May 25th, 2017

Whitney – Brooklyn Steel – May 24, 2017


It’s been a whirlwind for Whitney ever since releasing their much-acclaimed debut album, Light Upon the Lake. They’ve visited New York City, crisscrossed the country, made their television debut, toured the rest of the world and returned to NYC—each time passing through an increasingly larger venue, having quickly outgrown almost all of them. For a group that began as a bedroom project, recording songs in the dead of a Chicago winter, the nonstop touring has made a good band even better: It’s been a hell of a first lap.

Last night, Whitney took over Brooklyn Steel, a venue even newer than the band. The show kicked off with a Dolly Parton cover, “Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can),” performed by guitarist Max Kakacek and singer Julien Ehrlich on the piano. And although the song takes some serious falsetto chops to sing, Ehrlich might be the only male singer in the world capable of nailing it. The remaining members of the six-piece then came out to perform “Dave’s Song,” It’s a glorious moment when the rest of the band kicks in alongside Ehrlich’s drums. There’s something to be said for singing drummers, and with the frontman’s tender voice, the sticks in his hand added punch to his pleas. The cheery “No Matter Where We Go” featured drum fills trading off with Kakacek’s guitar riffs. And the lovesick “Polly” finished with a piercing Will Miller trumpet solo. The performance streamed live and there were shout-outs to a pair of grandparents watching, including a grandfather, born in Brooklyn, celebrating his birthday.

The momentum shifting instrumental “Red Moon” made room for each instrument to shine, its slowdowns and buildups making way for guitar and trumpet solos. Next came the Lion cover “You’ve Got a Woman.” “It’s always a hard song to play, and we sweat a lot, so don’t take too many Instagram photos,” warned Ehrlich before jumping into it. Whitney played most of Light Upon the Lake before announcing that they’d return. The four-song encore kicked off with a brand-new tune: “It’s about partying too hard,” said Ehrlich by way of introduction. Next came what’s become a tour staple, their cover of NRBQ’s “Magnet,” followed by the theme to The Golden Girls. Ehrlich claimed that he’d have trouble with the lyrics, but the audience enthusiastically helped out, before Whitney closed with “No Woman,” pausing at the end to thank everyone before jumping back into the climactic finish. These songs have been perfected, poised yet again to be a soundtrack for those sunny golden days of summer. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Whitney on 5/24

May 23rd, 2017

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With their American tour in support of their acclaimed debut album, Light Upon the Lake, winding down this week, Chicago’s Whitney return to town to play Brooklyn Steel tomorrow night. This appearance sold out in advance, but The House List just so happens to be offering up two free tickets to this in-demand show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Whitney, 5/24) and your advice on how to best take advantage of the three-day weekend ahead. Eddie Bruiser, who’s always looking for fun things to do, will notify the winner tomorrow. Good luck.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Whitney on 1/5

January 3rd, 2017

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Before heading out on an overseas tour in a couple of weeks, Whitney make one more American appearance, in Brooklyn at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday night. The show sold out quickly, but no worries if you got shut out because the Chicago band returns to play Brooklyn Steel on 5/24. And if you can’t wait that long to see them, The House List is giving away two tickets to see Whitney play Rough Trade NYC. Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets for (Whitney, 1/5) and a brief message explaining your best idea for a New Year’s resolution. Eddie Bruiser, who could probably use a few of them, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

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Whitney Sound Like Heaven at Music Hall of Williamsburg

October 11th, 2016

Whitney – Music Hall of Williamsburg – October 10, 2016

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)


What’s a young band to do, touring behind their much-acclaimed debut album? Throw out to the world every song you have and play with everything you’ve got. In this instance, the band was Chicago’s Whitney and the world was Music Hall of Williamsburg: “I wanna say the biggest venue we ever sold out,” said frontman-drummer Julien Ehrlich. Whitney played through their entire LP (10 songs), plus two covers last night, with the chops and tightness of a band that has that many albums recorded to their name rather than songs.

Led by Ehrlich at center stage, Whitney kicked off the performance with “Dave’s Song,” a momentum-shifting number that exploded into its hook-y melodic bliss mid-song, only to keep on expanding from there. Next came the summery anthem  “No Matter Where We Go,” featuring the catchiest guitar riffs sprinkled in from guitarist Max Kakacek (former member of Smith Westerns), which evolved into a jaunty, song-stealing solo. The forlorn and lovesick “Polly,” flirted with a maximalist chorus, offering only hints of it before ending in a beautiful trumpet solo from Will Miller. It’s not too often that you see indie bands fucking around with a trumpet, but Whitney perfectly worked the instrument’s buttery crispness into their melodic assaults.

The extended instrumental “Red Moon” featured everyone trading solos, beginning with Miller on the trumpet. Next came the Bob Dylan cover “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You,” sung wonderfully by Ehrlich—trading in Dylan’s Kermit the Frog–croon for his own gentle tenor. (Whitney also covered NRBQ’s “Magnet” in their encore.) The cheery “Golden Days” was introduced as a love song, “No Woman,” as a tune about having no girlfriend, and “Follow” as a song about death. But all three made for sing-alongs, carrying with each of them an optimistic, sunny feel in their own right, even the latter, which was inspired by the death of Ehrlich’s grandfather. With a band putting out music this strong, even tunes about death end up sounding like heaven. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

(Whitney play The Bowery Ballroom tonight.)

 

 

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Smith Westerns Bring New Tunes to Music Hall Tomorrow

July 23rd, 2013

Cameron Omori (vocals and guitar) and Max Kakacek (guitar) met as teens in a Chicago prep school and bonded over similar musical tastes, especially ’60s garage rock. They recruited Omori’s older brother, Cullen, to play the bass, but there’s been a revolving door behind the drum kit. Originally the group’s three members each took turns before Hal James came in as drummer for Smith Westerns’ 2009 self-titled debut album. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Brian Chase and Turbo Fruits’ John Eatherly played on the group’s superlative sophomore release, Dye It Blonde, which found them channeling George Harrison through a glam prism. And John Eatherly, formerly of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, became the fourth member of the young band for their newest release, Soft Will (stream it below), which NME hails for its “catchy tunes, dreamy textures and wistful nostalgia for misspent youth.” You can catch some of these new tunes live when Smith Westerns (above, doing “Weekend” for KEXP FM, and, below, covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “American Girl” for the A.V. Club) play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night.