Whitney – 25/08/2016 The Bullingdon, Oxford
After a summer filled with gruelling festival schedules and hedonistic sensibilities, bands are beginning to once again withdraw to the more accustomed darkened, sticky floored rooms but the momentum and enthusiasm from the festival circuit still appears strong as the Bullingdon filled to the rafters with a crowd desperate to see up-and-coming Chicago act Whitney. After their much acclaimed debut release earlier this year Light Upon The Lake, they appear to have amassed a strong and eclectic fan base, their nostalgic, shimmering indie rock capabilities clearly enticing and delighting a wide range of music lovers.
Watching Whitney, you feel like there is a real glut of creativity gnawing its way out of the young ensemble at present and a great deal of musical ground is covered in the hour plus show. We are treated to fanfare trumpet choruses, driving hillbilly rock and stripped back, lonesome ballads and the depth and breadth of composition shows an aptitude for that uncanny ability to touch bases with multiple genres without losing the bands original personality. With a few contrasting covers and some new material thrown in, the gig saunters along with all the panache of a band who know exactly who they are and what they want out of their music and it’s hard not to be wooed by the almost childlike, vulnerable cooing from lead singer and drummer Julien Ehrlich.
The encore, often a little contrived and overly systematic, works perfectly as Whitney save their most accomplished material for the end, finishing with No Woman, their melancholic tribute to loneliness in an unfamiliar city. What added even more to the evenings splendour was the appearance of two local acts, Cameron AG and Jonny Payne & The Thunder, who open the show with with aplomb and set the tone for the evenings music with two wonderful performances.
It’s fair to assume that we can expect to hear a lot more from Whitney, a band who ooze originality and charisma, and leaving the Bullingdon on Thursday, you could be forgiven for believing you had just witnessed what would be considered an iconic gig in future Oxford folk law. There’s definitely something unquestionably compelling about Whitney and after wowing with their debut release and having a live sound to do their studio work justice, the next time we see them in Oxford, they may well be impossible to miss.