Indie Pop Band Bleachers Jams Out In Alumni Hall
If you didn’t spent your last Friday night before the grind of finals in the HUB’s Alumni Hall for Bleachers’ free performance, you missed out on what the kid I overheard on my walk home call “one of the top three concerts ever,” a sentiment I can’t say that I don’t endorse.
On an unseasonably chilly April night, indie pop band Bleachers played an energetic set to a welcoming crowd to close out the Student Programming Association’s LateNight concert series for the 2014-15 school year.
After the typical general admission concert sequence of the music playing over the loudspeakers stopping and the crowd rushing to get as close as possible to the barricade, “Tomorrow” (yes, the song from “Annie”) started playing. Instead of the sun coming out, however, it was Jack Antonoff, the one and only member of Bleachers, along with his band.
Not wasting any time with introductions or small talk, the group jumped right into “Wild Heart,” during which Antonoff’s energy grew with every chord he played. Stopping only to take off his jacket before starting the guitar-driven “Shadow,” the enthusiastic musician did everything he could to get the crowd into the performance. After fist pumping, running around the stage, and clapping his way through the first half of the songs, Antonoff screamed “Penn State!” Which, of course, did the trick.
Antonoff finally took a break to talk to the audience of college kids who he said were going to have to be “nothing short of fucking nuts” during the set, mentioning that this show was Bleachers’ first concert at a college, to which the crowd went crazy with Penn State pride. Antonoff also mentioned that, because he didn’t go to college, everything he learned came from watching movies and porn, but the sympathetic audience was more than happy to teach him his first lesson: the “We Are” chant.
The next set of songs was highlighted by a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way,” as well as Bleachers’ most well known song up to that point of the night, “Rollercoaster,” the latter of which brought with it many additions to Snapchat Stories and the night’s only successful crowd surfer. Check out a video of the song:
After a lengthy jam session that Antonoff used to introduce the other musicians (including a kick-ass tenor saxophonist who Antonoff hyped the crowed for by saying “the louder you scream, the harder he blows!”), the band left the stage, also leaving the crowd wanting “One more song! One more song!” After a short break, Bleacher came back out to play
one two three (!) more songs, the last of which was the crowd favorite and popular hit “I Wanna Get Better,” which included Antonoff jumping onto the barricade and practically into the crowd.
With only one album, “Strange Desire,” out so far, Bleachers set was limited to only 12 songs, but even in playing the entirety of the album made every song sound like it came straight from the recording. Antonoff seemed to have more energy than everyone in the room combined, but still made the set feel intimate, as he continuously made eye-contact with members of the crowd and came down to high-five and touch hands with those up against the barricade.
The enthusiastic set was a fashionable way to kick off the final weekend before the last week of classes, and Penn Staters can only hope that SPA does an equally great job bringing big-name acts to the HUB for free concerts next year.
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