Photo and story by Rachel Blackwell / Contributing Writer
From the moment Jack Antonoff, the creator and one-man act that comprises Bleachers, took the stage decked in a bejeweled sailor suit, Bleachers delivered an adrenalized performance that didn’t disappoint the crowd at Marathon Music Works.
After a hyped-up opening performance by Los Angeles-based Tangerine, comprised of sisters Markia and Miro Justad, the lights dimmed momentarily and Antonoff appeared front-and-center, now dressed in denim on denim and yellow-laced Doc Martens, and proceeded into the bubbly 17-song set list that had fans grooving into the night.
For over an hour the band tore through hits, including several singles off their most recent album, “Gone,” including “Everybody Lost Somebody,” “I Miss Those Days,” “Let’s Get Married” and “Foreign Girls.” Yet it was the beloved tracks “Rollercoaster,” “Shadow,“ “Like a River Runs” and “I Want to Get Better” that had fans raising their phones to record snippets of their favorite hits.
The mood in the room mellowed while Antonoff sang “Carry On,” an alleged cover-song tribute to his early musical years as a former member of the band Fun.
Wednesday’s show was only Bleachers’ second time playing in Music City; however, Antonoff assured the Nashville crowd that they “really made them feel at home.”
Although Bleachers is New York-based, Antonoff informed fans that they still feel a unique connection with Nashville.
“I don’t know if you know this, Nashville, but all the crew, the buses and everything that makes our tour work comes out of Nashville,” he explained from the stage. “There’s a part of Bleachers that feels just a sliver of a hometown show playing here. Not that we’d ever play any show less than 100 percent, but it’s a little more important tonight.”
Toward the end of the evening, Antonoff took a brief break from the music to share an intimate story from his past.
“That sound that’s filling the room right now is my Juno 106,” he said referring to his coveted keyboard. “I think it’s the sound of Bleachers that I heard in my head, because this wasn’t until I got that keyboard that it all made sense. I bought that keyboard when I was living in New Jersey and I took it up to my room, I’d plug headphones in, sit in bed and I’d play around on it … that exact sound that you’re hearing right now was filling my head,” he said, shutting his eyes shut and bringing his hands to his ears.
“I’d dream about big drums and guitars and finding a way to take those sad songs into a place where there would be a crowd, and everyone could celebrate them together and they wouldn’t really be sad songs anymore. … And Nashville, that’s what we’re doing tonight,” Antonoff shouted as the band transitioned into the opening harmony of “Rollercoaster.”
Bleachers closed the show with an electric rendition of their newest single, “Don’t Take the Money,” before leaving fans piling against the barricade for their shot at claiming the set list.
Audrey Hawley, 19, of Nolensville, Tennessee, said it was her first time seeing Bleachers live, and she was pleasantly surprised.
“You can listen to a band’s album inside and out and fall in love with it, but you never know if you’re going to love them live, because some bands just don’t deliver well in a live setting,” she said. “However, tonight I learned that this is definitely not the case for Bleachers. They gave it their all.”
The show was a dream come true for 18-year-old Hannah Young, who said she fell in love with Bleachers when they released their debut album, “Strange Desire,” in 2014.
“The first time I heard ‘I Want to Get Better’ off Bleachers’ debut album, I completely fell head-over-heels for the band, especially for their unique sound and heartfelt lyrics that ordinary people can really connect with,” Young said. “Tonight was my first time seeing the band live, and let me tell you, it will be a night I will never forget.”
More information about Bleachers, including tour dates and music, can be found here.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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