Sometimes I see bands and they just have “it”.

There’s no way to explain “it” but you know when you hear or see it. Either the sound coming through the speakers gives you chills or the lyrics hit you so hard that the hairs on your arms stand straight up. It doesn’t matter if you love the music or not. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you would typically listen to or something you would probably never listen to. Something will catch you when you hear/see it. I was caught last night by the middle band.

Whitney is a band that has only been around for about a year. They are still very “up and coming” but I promise it won’t take long for these guys to start selling shows out.

I thought it was strange that the drums were set up right in the middle and front of the stage. It made no sense to me and looked awkward. Usually the drums are towards the middle and back of the stage and, honestly, not many people can see the drummer half the time. Here this band was setting up the drums front and center. Who did they think they were? I was thinking to myself, oh great, another hipster band trying to be “different”.

The second they took the stage, there was something familiar about them. Come to find out that two members of this band (Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich) are actually former members of The Smith Westerns (RIP). I never got to see The Smith Westerns play but I obsessed over live footage I found on Youtube of these guys. I never thought I would say this, but I’m kind of glad The Smith Westerns broke up. The breakup led to the formation of Whitney and I think Whitney will go much further than The Smith Westerns ever had a chance to.

Whitney’s music is groovy and poppy but it’s so much more than that and hard to categorize. You have a trumpet in back blaring along to the driving keyboards that are going on. You have the two keyboards battling it out in a war of beautiful sounds. Then you have the guitars and bass doing their thing and acting as the glue for the group. All of this was exciting enough to watch but then you had the singer/ drummer (Julien Ehrlich) front and center. There was really no chance of me watching anything but him.

The way he is able to drum and sing with a steady and quite beautiful voice without getting winded and out of breath just baffles me. He sat there for a good forty minutes playing non-stop and his voice never faltered. His voice belongs in a boy band but his look and charm belongs in an indie rock band. It was something that was truly amazing to witness live and definitely gave this band “it”.

Charlie Hilton opened up the show. Charlie is a female singer with a backing band that made me feel like I was by the beach in California or something. The music was calm and soothing throughout the set but still had some sort of energy to it that is unexplainable. Her haunting voice was beautiful but at the same time, sleep inducing. The music wasn’t bad and Charlie was more than talented and beautiful but it just wasn’t enough for me and I couldn’t stop the yawning.

The show was headlined by Wild Nothing from Virginia. This band is just as hard to categorize as Whitney but they even throw in a little 80’s synth pop to the mix.  Their music was upbeat and fun but after witnessing what was Whitney, I just couldn’t really get into it.  They definitely put on a great set and the packed house was loving every second of it but it just couldn’t not compete with the “it” factor of Whitney. I think had these guys been on a different bill, I would have loved every second of their set but unfortunately, those were not the cards that were dealt.

When I was in high school, my friends and family always told me to become an A&R representative at some record label because I hear and see “it”. I heard and saw “it” when Whitney took the stage. Keep your eyes on these guys.

Line Up:

Charlie Hilton


Wild Nothing


Venue: Triple Rock

Sausage Fest Meter- 3 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 20

Crowd Surfers- None

Stage Divers- None

Danceability- Moderate

Broken Bones- None

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 6.5 out of 10

Show on Deck- Acacia Strain/ Dying Fetus/ Jungle Rot and oh so many more!