Last month, indie-pop band Bleachers performed right here in D.C., with an opening performance by Claud, a gender non-binary indie-pop artist from Chicago. We couldn’t help but smile watching the 21-year-old bound across the stage, wearing a pair of antennas on their head. With catchy choruses and sweet melodies, Claud’s songs explored the intricacies of queer identity, intimacy, and relationships. Fan favorites like “Wish You Were Gay” and “That’s Mr. Bitch to You” won the hearts of Bleachers fans, young and old.
Energized by Claud’s act, The Anthem buzzed and hearts swooned when Bleachers’ lead singer Jack Antonoff took the stage sporting a leather jacket, blue jeans, and a sly smile. A spark invigorated the crowd as he played the first chords of “91”, sitting elegantly at the grand piano.
Antonoff’s on-stage performances brought each of his songs to life and kept fans on their toes, despite his repertoire of somewhat homogenous indie-rock. In “Secret Life”, Antonoff appealed to his quieter side, serenading the audience with an intimate love song that featured Claud, instead of Lana Del Rey. During upbeat hits like “Let’s Get Married”, Antonoff jumped from the risers and shook his head wildly. Wiping sweat from his brow and maintaining a beaming smile, Antonoff exuded infectious energy: “We’ve missed you!” he shouted into the crowd, “It feels so good to be back!” He continued to engage the crowd with the performance itself, using call and response and urging fans to get on each other’s shoulders. His lively and heartfelt songs alike made obvious his love for music and performance.
Antonoff also emphatically highlighted each member of his band, giving them a chance to perform solo. Saxophonist Evan Smith dazzled with his riffs, while Mike Riddleburg held steady with the drums. Bleachers played all-time favorites like “Rollercoaster” and “I Wanna Get Better” and ended with a stunning rendition of their newest hit, “Stop Making This Hurt”.
Between songs, Antonoff acknowledged the collective loss we experienced during the pandemic, as we were unable to watch artists perform live. His words hit close to home. We missed the throb of the bass, the pulse of the crowd, the deafening screams from elated fans. Bleachers’ performance here in D.C. reminded us just how essential experiencing live music is.
Photo Credit: RCA Records
Sabrina Shaffer is a Freshman in the College studying Sociology.
Carolina Permuy is a Freshman in the SFS and is undecided.