Bleachers has been on my bucket list of live shows since he was supposed to open for Charlie XCX’s last tour. Unfortunately, the tour was cancelled, and any chance I had of seeing him was just as likely as me splurging on a trip to the east coast for the few cities left that he was touring. To try and the fill the void, I stalked him on social media only to grow with envy each time he released secret shows or USBs with his unreleased singles around Jersey or New York City.
Finally, my night with Jack Antonoff became a reality when he finally headlined his first show in Austin, Texas. In no way am I overstating the following when I say it was everything I dreamed of and more. To be honest, I didn’t have the highest expectations. It was by no means a reflection of Antonoff, his music, or his ability to entertain. Instead, I lacked faith in the venue. The Emo’s in Austin was always rather disappointing each time I went there for one of my favorite artists. Considering how vast and open the space is, I feel like the stage should be bigger. Another great asset would be if the floor inclined a bit the further you were from the stage. That way, even people in the back would be able to see the stage clearly. Another disadvantage I have, aside from my height, is the claustrophobia I experience in large crowds. It’s something I have to brave every time I see a show, but it’s always particularly bad at Emo’s.
Fortunately, I was able to get to the venue in time to snag a spot early in the line and secure some quality floor space. It didn’t take too long to be surrounded by a throng of people, but I did my best to tough it out. The last two times I was there it got so intense that I ended up retreating to the back. I wanted this time to be different, though. I knew as soon as Jack Antonoff took the stage, the claustrophobia would be drowned out by his presence.
I knew it was worth it the second he took the stage. He sported his bedazzled blazer and cap, familiar from the album cover and the “Don’t Take The Money” music video. The drum set on stage right boasted a red light behind it, also reminiscent of the album cover’s red dot on the top left corner.
After the opening song, he quickly changed into my favorite ensemble of the night, an oversized denim jacket with some color blocking. However, that remained on for just one song, too, before he stripped down to just a black tee layered underneath a denim vest.
I’m convinced that Jack Antonoff was smiling non stop during the entirety of at least the first three or four songs.
His vocal range is truly incredible and unmatched in modern pop music. There were parts of “Everybody Lost Somebody” that I didn’t even know were him!
I finally understood what he meant each time he tweeted about how magical a show was. They were no longer just words that an artist used to hype up his own shows. There was actually a real connection between the audience and the people on stage. It wasn’t just like when an army of fan girls would scream with infatuated lungs at their internet crushes on the stage. It was something much deeper each time his lyrics were thrown back to him in perfect unison.
The band was also one of the tightest ensembles I had ever experienced. What they added to the show could only be measured in sweat and screams. The incredibly talented saxophonist is actually from Texas (I think Dallas). Another one of the guys, I believe Sean Hutchinson, had actually been touring with Jack since his days in Fun. Below is a the part of the show where Jack introduces everyone to the band. An especially fun highlight is when the guitar and saxophone face off in a musical battle.
Speaking of Fun., Jack Antonoff played “Carry On” before building into Bleachers’ own track, “Live A River.” It’s here where you can see how raw and vulnerable he gets during his performance. At times it’s hard to tell whether he’s singing and talking to himself or the audience.
The next video I’ll be sharing is their performance of “I Wanna Get Better” just because it is probably my favorite song out of both albums. It was the second to last song, right before “Don’t Take The Money.” They didn’t do that fake encore nonsense, and I was glad for it. Instead everything was left out on the floor during those last two songs. You can even see the entire crowd rush over right before my video cuts off (sorry!).
Let me know what you guys think of Bleachers’ concert! It really is one of the best shows I’d ever been to. I’ll have to knock someone off my list of top five. Go ahead and click the follow button on the bottom left corner to stay up to date with weekly artist features and surprise concert reviews whenever more bands come back into town. Or if you just want more Bleachers stuff, you can check out my album review for Gone Now.
I’ll end this with how Jack Antonoff describes Bleachers: “It’s all these songs that I thought were sad songs. And they’re not sad songs because when we get into a room and we put all this noise behind it and celebrate it together, it’s not sad anymore…”