Bleachers hit the ground running on February 18th, 2014, when the band’s single “I Wanna Get Better” was released simultaneously with the launch of Bleachers’ website, social media accounts, and select tour dates. The secret side project of Jack Antonoff began while touring with a little band named fun. (You might have heard of them.) Bleachers full length album “Strange Desires” was release on July 15th, and the band embarked on a headlining tour in support of their release. On Tuesday, they had their first show in a two night stay in Washington DC.
New York City based MisterWives opened the show with some high energy, soulful, jazz friendly tunes. The band brings a ton of energy with them on stage along with their instruments. It seems that openers don’t normally get as warm of a welcome, because well, lets face it; most of the crowd is there for the headliner. But with MisterWives, the crowd at the 9:30 Club seemed to love their act, especially the horn solos during “Imagination Infatuation”.
Bleachers appeared unannounced, opening their set with “Wild Heart”, the first song from their debut album. The band tore through the first three tracks off the album in order before Antonoff addressed the crowd. “Washington DC!!!!” he screamed, bringing the energy up a notch. The Bleachers frontman came across as a personable guy; he talked to the crowd, calling out people on their first dates and making jokes. He didn’t seem like a person who has been polluted the fame he gained while playing guitar for the Grammy winning, platinum selling band fun.
Bleachers, who technically is a Jack Antonoff solo act (he played all the instruments on the album), was made up dual drummers Jon Shiffman and Sean Hutchinson, bass/keys/guitar extraordinaire Mikey Freedom Hart, and sax/keys player Evan Smith. These guys can jam. They’re all multi-instrumentalists, freely moving from one “station” to the next each song, and sometimes during the songs.
Antonoff worked his way into the love ballad “Wake Me” by talking to a couple up on the balcony of the 9:30 Club. It turned out that it was their first date, and the Bleachers singer dedicated the song to them, giving them more to remember about their first outing than most people are afforded. After moving through more of their own material, the band took a break to cover The Mountain Goats “I’m Going to Make It Through This Year if it Kills Me”.
“Take Me Away”, a song which features Grimes, was especially nice to see live; without Grimes, Bleachers was forced to adapt, opting to use a sample triggered by Antonoff, which worked amazingly well. The group went on to play two more tracks from “Strange Desires” before exiting the stage.
Bleachers returned after a few deafening minutes, and Antonoff and company played a song from his older band, Steel Train, titled “Bullet”. After finishing the last track from the Bleachers’ album, the band proceeded to tear the roof off the 9:30 Club with a rowdy, stomping, long-awaited version of their smash hit “I Wanna Get Better”, closing out the night.
Bleachers is one of those bands who you have to see live to be able to appreciate fully; the album is great, but you don’t get the full experience until you’re stuck into a room of people screaming “HEY! I wanna get better!!” Do yourself a favor, and grab some tickets for one of the upcoming shows. Bleachers is currently on a nationwide tour, and you can check out the dates below.
I’m Going To Make It Through This Year If It Kills Me (The Mountain Goats cover)
Take Me Away
Like A River Runs
You’re Still A Mystery
Bullet (Steel Train)
Who I Want You to Love
I Wanna Get Better
9/03 – 9:30 Club w/ Misterwives – Washington, DC
9/04 – Webster Hall w/ Misterwives – New York, NY
9/06 – Boston Calling Music Festival – Boston, MA
10/03 – ACL Music Festival – Austin, TX
10/10 – ACL Music Festival – Austin, TX
10/25 – Coral Skies Festival – Tampa, FL
10/26 – Coral Skies Festival – West Palm Beach, FL
10/28 – Center Stage – Atlanta, GA
10/29 – Cannery Ballroom w/ Wild Cub – Nashville, TN
10/31 – 2014 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience – New Orleans, LA
11/01 – Fitzgerald’s w/ Wild Cub – Houston, TX
11/02 – House of Blues w/ Wild ClubDallas, TX
11/05 – The Wiltern w/ Wild Cub – Los Angeles, CA
11/06 – The Independent w/ Wild Cub – San Francisco, CA
11/07 – Crystal Ballroom w/ Wild Cub – Portland, OR
11/08 – The Rio Theatre w/ Wild Cub – Vancouver, Canada
11/09 – Showbox at the Market w/ Wild Cub – Seattle, WA
11/12 – The Bluebird Theater w/ Wild Cub – Denver, CO
11/14 – Turner Hall w/ Wild Cub – Milwaukee, WI
11/15 – Vic Theatre w/ Wild Cub – Chicago, IL
11/16 – Varsity Theater w/ Wild Cub – Minneapolis, MN
11/23 – Theatre of Living Arts w/ Wild Cub – Philadelphia, PA