By Aimee Huckeba
On Saturday, September 14, I had the pleasure of seeing Whitney at Mohawk in Austin. I have not seen this band live since October 2017 when they were touring their debut album, Light Upon the Lake.
Whitney’s anticipated sophomore album, Forever Turned Around, was released on August 30 and they are facing a tour lasting until mid-December, finishing with 5 shows in their hometown of Chicago. Whitney consists of drummer/lead singer Julien Ehrlich and lead guitarist Max Kakacek. Their touring band adds another five members to the stage to supplement the keyboard, bass, guitar, trumpet and synth.
The energy from these seven men gave it more of a jam-session flare than a formal concert experience. Ehrlich conversing with the crowd humanized them, and it felt as if we were hanging out at a kickback house show. My friends and I secured our middle spots in general admission and got ready for this great show that exceeded expectations.
The setlist was a generous balance of both of their albums, and they performed a hefty 18 songs. They opened the show with older tracks “Polly” and “No Matter Where We Go” followed by “Giving Up.” This was the song I was most excited to hear live from their new album, and it serves as the opening track. They followed this song with “Friend Of Mine,” a ballad about the band member’s ever-changing relationship.
Every song Whitney performed showcased their punchy trumpet, as they made it a prominent sound on their new album. They morphed their older tracks to match the tempo of their brisk newer tracks to improve the quality of the show. They finished with a three song encore consisting of “Used To Be Lonely,” “No Woman” and closed the night with “Valleys (My Love).”
This show was especially sentimental to me because I can track my growth as well as Whitney’s musical growth. Last time I saw them, I was a sophomore in college and they were a band I clung to for emotional uplifting. This 2019 album and concert was an entirely different experience than the last time I saw them on that cold October night in New Orleans.
A majority of their old songs are about broken love and loss, something almost everyone can relate to. Forever Turned Around charts a different path: change and friendship. Change is inevitable and sourcing it through healthy outlets like music and mutual relationships is where I find the most comfort. I am thankful Whitney is one of the bands I get to change alongside with.
Feature image by Aimee Huckeba