REVIEW: Bleachers At Summerfest
Bleachers, the once side project of then fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, has grown significantly since their last appearance at Summerfest. The band, now becoming a main project of Antonoff’s, is touring behind their second album, “Gone Now”, as opposed to 2014, when the band was playing just it’s fourth or fifth show ever at the festival. Antonoff and co. we’re excited to bring things back to where they (almost) started on Saturday night, and that showed with a 17 song, virtually non-stop set at the Miller Lite Oasis.
The Bleachers that you hear on record and Bleachers in a live setting are at times almost two completely different experiences. Antonoff was the main attraction of the show, running around the stage, appearing giddy with excitement. Since their last appearance, however, the band has become a more present part of the live show. Saxophonist/Synth player Evan Smith would take center stage at times, appearing to put every last ounce of air in his body into the saxophone with wild solos. Antonoff would frequently interact with Smith, bassist/keyboardist Mikey Hart, and the band’s pair of drummers, making faces at them as if he was discovering their talents for the first time. It was clear that the band is, amongst everything else, enjoying each other’s company onstage.
In terms of the actual set, material from “Gone Now” served blends well with tracks from the band’s debut, “Strange Desire”, and there was a pretty even split between both albums. The energy was high throughout the night, save for two songs; back to back stripped down versions of fun. cover and signalong “Carry On”, followed by “Like A River Runs” featuring only Antonoff and an electric guitar. Antonoff then asked the crowd if he could “pick things back up”, before the band launched into a dance party cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way”. The night closed on Bleachers’ breakout hit, “I Wanna Get Better”, followed by current lead single, “Don’t Take The Money”.
Bleachers is definitely not the same band that they were in 2014. As Antonoff described on stage, they’ve gone from “this project and just a few songs” that he had written into a full-fledged indie pop party. Saturday night confirmed that, and showed that even though Bleachers has grown in popularity significantly, their willingness to give every show all that they’ve got is unchanged.