Whitney Can’t Lose at Webster Hall

Whitney Can’t Lose at Webster Hall

December 12, 2022

Whitney – Webster Hall – December 11, 2022

Would you torture the members of Whitney in a shipping container for a year? Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich’s Chicago band is on their fourth album — three of original material, plus one of covers. They’re at the top of their game, and they clearly were having a great time in the East Village at Webster Hall last night, playing material from across their catalog. With their songs propelled forward by Ehrlich’s kick drum, Whitney can’t lose. Alternately manned by Ehrlich and keyboardist-guitarist Malcolm Brown — every member plays at least two or three instruments — there’s always a buoyancy, an ephemeral lightness to Whitney that keeps their music charmingly wistful.

Their latest LP, Spark, has busier chord changes, but as they continue to let the creep of Midwestern R&B increasingly influence their compositions, they still deliver a nectarine sweetness, particularly accented by Will Miller’s trumpet (at one point, the rest of the band kneeled while he took a solo). On Sunday, the energy in the room was palpable: This was the most fun they’d ever had in NYC, said Ehrlich, and he was moved to shouting at several intervals between beats, thundering fills and rocking out, and even throwing his socks into the crowd, when someone had asked for them. After an enjoyable set from Boston indie-pop openers Squirrel Flower, Whitney charged forward into multiple scenes of real feeling throughout the set, giving a snowy night a glimpse of sunshine. —Adlan Jackson | @AdlanKJ

Photos courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum | @Tobytenenbaum

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