"Hey, I’m going to see Bleachers at Summerfest?" "You’re sitting on them. Or is that a band?" It's a common miscommunication people probably faced when they told others they were off to see the power pop band Bleachers on Saturday night at the Miller Lite Oasis.
Well, even if you haven't heard of the band – and maybe even if you have heard the band – you may at least know a member. Jack Antonoff, the lead singer and songwriter, has played in other bands, such as Steel Train and FUN. You may also know him as Lorde’s song co-producer for her latest album, "Melodrama," or even as Lena Dunham’s arm candy. (Side note: No Lena Dunham was spotted at tonight’s concert.)
Perhaps you even saw the show or walked past the Miller Lite Oasis to see him in the flesh, standing with his denim-on-denim attire alongside the rest of his band. At the sight of him, audience members could be heard yelling, "He’s so cute."
Bleachers formed back in 2014, and Summerfest actually marked one of their first shows together. Now, only a few years later, the rockers made their grand return, where they brought out quite the crowd – a timely show, as they just released their album, "Gone Now," this past June.
Right when the clock struck 10:15 p.m., a flag with an outline of Antonoff came down, the lights went up and the crowd immediately got pumped up as the band members came out one by one, radiating energy.
Bleachers opened the show with "Shadow" and, from the start, had the audience hooked by playing their hears out. The band didn’t have big theatrics or a lot going on onstage. They had bright lights, pure talent and a natural energetic aura that made just them jamming out and having a good time onstage enough.
Surprisingly, the audience seemed mostly sober. There weren’t people stumbling around, obnoxiously yelling or spilling beer all over the place like other stages have seen the past few days. The audience was dancing, singing along and genuinely enjoying the music. This also helped make the concert great.
The band played songs from their two studio albums, including "Foreign Girls," "Wake Me," "Wild Heart," "Like a River Runs" and more. Antonoff talked about how he wrote all the tunes himself, and most are intended as sad songs until he pumps them up with the beats. That process showed with crowd favorites "Roller Coaster," "Hate That You Know Me" and "I Wanna Get Better."
The band went wild on stage, rocking their bodies to the beat and headbanging to the tunes. Antonoff even made an appearance in the audience, dancing in the aisle and greeting fans for "I Wanna Get Better." During all of these hits, people were risking their limbs jumping on the bleachers, screaming the lyrics and grooving like crazy, giving the concert a fun atmosphere.
The band slowed things down with "Carry On," a song from Antonoff’s former band FUN, and "Like A River Runs." Unfortunately, the change in pace lost some of the audience's interest, who turned their focus to the colorful balloons bouncing around the crowd. But the people who decided to listen really got to understand the emotion behind his songs and their lyrics. You could hear it with the passion and the emotion in his voice.
However, it didn’t take long for Bleachers to pump the audience right back up with their rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s "Go Your Own Way." The classic cover helped people get back to grooving, but also allowed those who don't really know the band to at least be able to say they knew one song played at the show.
The audience wasn’t as crowded as I have seen it other nights at Miller Lite Oasis – but don't get me wrong, there were still a lot of people. Either way, that didn’t stop Bleachers from taking a step back in awe and feeling grateful to where this band has come in the last few years.
Before wrapping up the show, Antonoff introduced the band and presented their talents. They went one-by-one, showing off their skills on their instruments and reminding the crowd of the great chemistry they have together. The introduction also brought one of the best, most fun moments of the concert: Antonoff on guitar battling his saxophonist.
Bleachers closed the night with one of their newer songs, "Don’t Take the Money." As the band played its last few notes, the audience cheered, smiled and applauded. People cheered for "one more song," screaming loudly and hoping for an encore, but instead just watched the crew take apart their equipment.
Encores can be overrated, and it’s nice for a band to do what they came to do in one go around instead of two. So, respect to them for getting it done, leaving the crowd pumped up and excited for more.
Bleachers have come a long way since their Summerfest performance three years ago, and Milwaukee should excitedly await yet another grand return, hopefully in the near future.
"Everybody Lost Somebody"
"Hate That You Know Me"
"I Miss Those Days"
"Let’s Get Married
"Carry On" (FUN cover)
"Like A River Runs"
"Go Your Own Way" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
"You’re Still a Mystery"
"I Wanna Get Better"
"Don’t Take the Money"