Bleachers has become a household name to most millennial indie rock enthusiasts, mainly due to Jack Antonoff’s spanning and successful music career. What first seemed to be the predictable rise of a talented vocalist and lead guitarist for bands such as Steel Train and Fun. became an explosion of musical success as the founder & songwriter for Bleachers and as an acclaimed pop producer for artists such as Taylor Swift, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent, and more.
With so many different outlets now to express Jack’s musical prowess, Bleachers has become over time his own personal pet project that seems to be a direct link to his humble beginnings in New Jersey. Always doing exactly what he idealizes and enjoys performing when it comes to musical stylings and lyricism, Bleachers albums have gone from heavy 80’s rock influences (Strange Desire), to lyrical storytelling involving themes of loss and letting go with superb pop rock production (Gone Now), and now 50’s & 60’s rockabilly directly influenced by his idol Bruce Springsteen (Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night). You never know what you’re going to hear from Bleachers next, and that’s become half the fun for long-time fans.
You can then imagine when Bleachers announced their new album & tour set to arrive at Los Angeles’s premier venue the Hollywood Palladium, tickets quickly became sold-out months in advance. And the night of, you could see long lines of fans waiting patiently to enter the venue hours before Bleachers was set to be onstage. With so many people arriving early for a good spot in the large GA pit, Bleacher’s opener Claud had an impressive crowd when they arrived on stage. Claud is an American bedroom pop singer-songwriter who blew the crowd away with their witty lyricism (“I’m not a bitch // Call me Mr. Bitch”) and colorful arrangements.
Jack Antonoff soon entered the stage with just one spotlight on him to begin their set with a piano arrangement of “91,” the opening track off their newest album Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night. The full band soon came out one by one to accompany Jack, and as soon as the song was over, Jack rushed to the front of the stage, now brightly lit, to get the crowd going with fan favorite “Let’s Get Married” from their sophomore album Gone Now.
The rest of the set was a fun and creative mix of their full discography with a specific emphasis on their latest release, as this is the first tour performing these songs live. Jack even mentioned how their latest single “How Dare You Want More” had only been performed live 14 times before that night. He made sure as well to express his gratitude to everyone who made the effort to be at the show that night; he spoke of how it’s been an especially difficult past year for everyone and how ecstatic he is to be able to finally perform live for everyone again.
The night ended with favorites such as “Rollercoaster”, “You’re Still a Mystery”, and “I Wanna Get Better” off their debut album Strange Desire, and favorite love anthem “Don’t Take the Money” from Gone Now. With incredible stage production, an impressive full band sound including two drummers and two saxophone players, and entertaining onstage antics involving masterful guitar playing by Jack himself, everyone left the Hollywood Palladium that night with a new appreciation for the simple art of performing music live.
Words and photos by Sarah Woods