To be at a Bleachers show is to experience almost unparalleled joy. After a COVID scare sidelined the Jack Antonoff fronted project, the band returned to Phoenix on Monday with a renewed sense of gratitude to be onstage once again.
Claud is also back on the road with Bleachers and provided the only support for the evening- and honestly, who could ask for more? The diminutive icon debuted songs from their first album and had the crowd singing along from the first track. Their fun brand of indie pop is both charming and entirely relatable and songs like “That’s Mr. Bitch to You” and “Soft Spot” put smiles on the faces of everyone pressing closer to the stage.
The anticipation kept building and the room exploded with cheers when Bleachers finally took the stage. With the pandemic putting years between Arizona appearances, fans were ecstatic to see the band back in full force. Antonoff emerged under a single spotlight to play “91” on piano, backed by a stellar brass section before the band upped the energy with the rousing “Let’s Get Married”.
From that moment, the night was all good vibes, wide smiles and voices that nearly drowned out the band. “I Miss Those Days” into “Everybody Lost Somebody” was a perfect creative choice before they took things down a notch for a beautiful modified cover of Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl”.
Between songs, a visibly giddy Antonoff bantered with the band and expressed undying love to the fans for selling out the show and bringing their best attitudes. Several new songs were injected into the setlist, including an acoustic version of “45” that really poured the emotion into an already charged up set.
The band closed the evening with the triple threat of their biggest album singles and hearing a roomful of people screaming to “I Wanna Get Better” really made it feel like nature is finally healing. As the last notes of “Stop Making This Hurt” rang out, Bleachers sauntered offstage to the jaunty tune of dueling saxophones and the adrenaline from an audience already looking forward to the next show.
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Story and photos by Olivia Khiel