Featured Review : Bleachers

2017 marked the beginning of Bleacher’s ‘Gone Now’ era as Jack Antonoff and company continue to tour the states. Before the thunderous shows to often sold out rooms across America begin the ‘Gone Now’ era was issued in at in front of a tiny crowd of no more than 200 people at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The album hadn’t been released at this time and no one really knew what Bleachers were up too other than a few cryptic tweets. Some folks were lucky enough to get into the room (us included thanks to a tweet to Jack Antonoff that day) and it was then that the band debuted much of their new music as they filmed a very special MTV Unplugged episodes. Having seen the birth of the era as well as hearing the songs performed as they were written it seemed natural to make the trek to the FM Kirby Center to watch as the band played a radio event sponsored by ALT 92.1.

There were no thrills, no extra production, no haze – just Bleachers lit by white front lights on a historic stage that has been in the Wilkes Barre area for a near century. The crowd was 1,000 strong and from the first song, “Good Morning,” it was clear that they were all fans of the band. Radio shows can be tricky beasts sometimes as you never know the crowd that is going to attend but that Thursday night was a gathering of true fans and not just radio listeners who won some free tickets. In a short amount of time, 2 songs or less, the crowd had fully left their seats to rush the stage as commanded by Jack earlier on in the night. The FM Kirby Center was rocked as the aisles began to fill more with fans who sprinted down from their seats in the balcony above to join the floor was Evan Smith took center stage to crank out the saxophone solo of “Everybody Lost Somebody.”

It is wildly known that Jack Antonoff is a man who never sleeps. From Steel Train to Fun and now Bleachers music is the core of his very existence – but live performance is where he truly shines. Antonoff is the Springsteen of his very own E-Street Band as the level of talent on the stage when the band performs is truly astonishing to watch. The show isn’t perfect but it shouldn’t be because it is alive as the band feeds off the crowd’s energy and interacts with them all night long. It has been a long time now since Bleachers burst onto the scene with “I Wanna Get Better” and while tons of have people have gathered at concerts to sing those lyrics back to the band that song was just the beginning. The ‘Gone Now’ era has seen the band refine and evolve their sound which has extended two-fold into their live concerts. From minute one until minute ninety the band leaves it all on the stage but still finds time to have quirky conversations, ask the crowd via shouting where they all came from and leave a message of hope in these trying times we all live in. Bleachers – one of New Jersey’s finest exports – can come play for Pennsylvania again anytime they want, we will be waiting and are only a quick turnpike toll or bridge away.

Setlist :
Wild Heart
Everybody Lost Somebody
Hate That You Know Me
Wake Me
I Miss Those Days
Let’s Get Married
All My Heroes
Bullet (Steel Train cover) (Chorus only)
American Girl (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover)
Carry On (fun. cover)
Like a River Runs
You’re Still a Mystery
I Wanna Get Better
Don’t Take the Money

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