Pictures and Words by David Brendan Hall
“This is our first headline show in Austin!” exclaimed Bleachers frontman Jack Antonoff toward the beginning of the band’s Tuesday night show at the storied Central Texas venue. “We’ve been waiting five fuckin’ years for this!”
His exuberance wasn’t totally lost on the sprawling sea of fans, who screamed along heartily to a slew of rock anthems, most pulled from recently released sophomore album Gone Now. What those among the capacity crowd might not have realized is just how lucky they were to witness this show in such an intimate space.
Antonoff’s meteoric rise over the past few years from “the guitarist in fun.” (still owned by way of a reworked cover of hit “Carry On”) to producer and co-songwriter for Taylor Swift and Lorde has clearly added thrust to his position as this band’s frontman. Never mind that Bleachers’ sonics and stage presence already parallel those of golden-era Bruce Springsteen; the immensity of both their sound and on-stage energy during gigs this past year and especially this night – particularly during double-drumkit, soaring-sax-solo sing-alongs like “Goodmorning,” “Everybody Lost Somebody,” and “You’re Still a Mystery” – should be a beacon for arena bookers the world over.
Not just for his powerful songwriting, but also equally for a quick instinct to humbly bestow his fans with all the credit, Antonoff is a perfect candidate to lead the new-contemporary contingent of those mustering massive, rock-fueled catharsis.
“This is a full-on Austin-doesn’t-fuck-around situation!” he offered, beaming like he was born for this.
Gallery of Bleachers @ Emo’s (Sept. 19, 2017) by David Brendan Hall
Dream of Mickey Mantle
Everybody Lost Somebody
Hate That You Know Me
I Miss Those Days
Let’s Get Married
All My Heroes
Carry On (fun. cover)
Like a River Runs
You’re Still a Mystery
I Wanna Get Better
Don’t Take the Money