In support of the latest record Forever Turned Around, released earlier this year, Chicago’s Whitney arrived in Manchester on a chilly but clear night, stating that they had always wanted to play the incredible Albert Hall. Well tonight was the night and boy, did they deliver.
Despite claiming his voice was a little raspy following a few too many drinks the night before, lead singer and drummer Julien Ehrlich was vocally on-point throughout the evening, delivering his distinct falsettos for a range of melancholic, contemplative numbers from both the debut and recently-released records. Behind and to the sides of him were numerous long-time tour members, as well as the full-time Max Kakacek, who’s sensational guitar-playing was a highlight throughout the evening. Nonetheless, it was the trumpet of Will Meller that received the greatest response during the night, as he worked his way throughout each track – sometimes subtly, sometimes providing the finest of crescendos to songs including ‘Dave’s Song’, ‘Follow’ and ‘Day & Night’.
The biggest of moments inevitably came with hit tracks such as ‘Golden Days’ and of course, the simply gorgeous ‘No Woman’. For the latter, the roof was practically lifted off by the cheers and whoops that came within hearing the first notes, and a mighty singalong ensued.
Ehrlich makes for an excellent frontman, despite being sat behind his drumkit for the entirety of the evening. Both calming and humorous – at one point stating “That song was about anxiety and this one’s about death…whoop!” – he checked in on the crowd, told us exactly how many tracks were to come, including a couple of covers, and rightly received rapturous applause as the final notes of the beautiful ‘Valleys (My Love)’ rang out. It was a real team effort from a set of musicians who clearly love what their doing, and in a setting that truly matched their heart-warming sound.