Whitney treated a sold out crowd at Thalia Hall to an intimate hometown show on Thursday night. After day one of Lollapalooza, much of the crowd was in an exhausted stupor, anxious for the bands to take the stage and keep the party going.
Brooklyn rocker Kevin Devine opened the night with an energized performance. Although his band took up only half the stage, their presence filled the venue. They played a mix of older fan favorites, including the playfully upbeat “Bubblegum” and “Little Bulldozer,” and newer, more serious tunes like “No History” and “Instigator” from Devine’s latest release, last year’s politically charged album Instigator.
Whitney’s founding members, Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, began their set with a shorter version of their newest single, a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow as I Can).” Although the rest of the set wasn’t as simple, the heartfelt feeling persisted throughout the night.
They supported songs from their album, Light Upon the Lake, with a three-piece string section, adding more layers to the already packed stage. Every member of the band was featured in some way throughout the set and each took the time to prove their musicianship to the crowd. Ehlrich joked about not being able to fill the time slot with their short album, so they played multiple covers including NRBQ’s “Magnet,” Lion’s “You’ve Got a Woman” and the “Golden Girls” theme song.
Highlights included a guest appearance by the band’s friend Finally Aaron, whose gospel remix of “Golden Girls” blew up on social media last year, and an unreleased song about being depressed. This new song opened the encore and included fantastic acoustic support from their guitarist, Print Chouteau. The night ended with Ehrlich thanking the crowd and expressing appreciation for the hometown support in their favorite city.