Article by: Emily Schwarz
Photo by: Ellika Henrikson
Waiting in the cold in line outside of the Empty Bottle, the crowds chattered with excitement. Whitney’s last show of the year, after a week-long stint of playing many of the city’s beloved venues.
Walking into the Empty Bottle, we were greeted by employees who explained that this event would be phone-free and gave us a small sensor-tagged bag to place our phones in for the duration of the show. Not only did this allow Whitney to play their unreleased music, but disconnecting the crowd from their technologies created a wonderful interconnectedness with the crowd that made us all enjoy the moment even more!
Squirrel Flower opened up the show, draped in pink fluorescent lighting as she enchanted the crowd with her powerful vocals and melodic guitar strumming. The entirety of Empty Bottle was encapsulated by her voice and entranced as she played a solo set in advance of Whitney’s performance.
When Whitney finally came on, the crowd was ecstatic. The band explained that not only was this show their last show of the year, and the end of their week-long stint of playing a variety of Chicago venues, but the Empty Bottle was the first venue that Whitney played at as a band, which made the night even more special.
Whitney, fronted by guitarist Max Kakacek and drummer-singer Julien Ehrlich, played a combination of both new and older tracks, which only got better as the night went on. By the end of the night, the crowd was jumping and dancing, singing along to the words of every song that we knew, and showing love to the new music, which reminded me once again the reason why Whitney has been such a crucial and influential piece to the Chicago music scene.