Review + Photos: Bleachers at Crystal Ballroom, Portland
Written by joe on May 26, 2017
FFO: Walk the Moon, Smallpools, Misterwives, Grouplove
94/7 Alternative Portland presented: “The Best Show of the Year…So Far with Bob Mosses, Missio, and Bleachers”; it was without a doubt the best show of the year, and going to be very hard to beat. Fresh at the beginning of his tour, Jack Antonoff set out to tour his upcoming album Gone Now for his project Bleachers. He made a stop at Portland’s Crystal Ballroom near the beginning of his long US city and summer festival tour.
The stage set up was simple, and small: a large banner of the Gone Now album art hung behind the stage with only house lights to compliment the band. However, Bleachers is a band and sound that speaks for itself. With Jack Antonoff leading the band, the entire stage and ballroom lit up and ignited with energy as soon as Jack and his band walked out on stage. You could tell from the very first note that was played that this was going to be an incredibly high energy set: with Jack running across the stage swinging and playing his guitar, Jack waving his arms and guiding his audience, Jack repeatedly interacting them and playing as close to the crowd as the stage will let him to touch the hands of his fans, and repeatedly expressing his gratitude to everyone who came out to see the show. The rest of his band did an extraordinary job as well, and didn’t just sit back while Jack worked the crowd. The rest of the band did their part, playing individual solos toward the end of the set, working the stage and interacting with the audience just as much as Jack was, and one personal highlight: a guitar and saxophone battle between Jack and his band member.
The hour and a half long setlist was very well balanced, and included nearly an equal amount of new/unreleased Bleachers music and songs from the first album. Fans were treated to unreleased songs including “I Miss Those Days”, “Let’s Get Married”, and “Goodbye”, and were played a stripped down version of the song “Like A River Runs.” Prior to playing the song, Jack stopped the set to discuss his music and song writing process. He describes Bleachers music as somber and personal lyrics disguised and contracted with huge, upbeat production. He explained to the crowd, “I want to play this song for you how it was first written, and heard, in my bedroom.”
If this really was “The Best Show of the Year…So Far” as according to 94.7, then 94.7 and Foster the People have some big shoes to fill, and an impressive show to top in the next concert of the series.
– shots from the show (joe hernandez photography) –