Bleachers Brings Unhinged Intensity To Final Weekend Of Summerfest

Not a single soul in the vicinity of the Miller Lite Oasis delivered as much unfiltered intensity as Jack Antonoff did on Friday night.

At this point in his career, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is known through many avenues of the music industry. Some may know him from his mega-hits of years past with the band fun., while others are soaking up his catalogue of songs co-written and produced for the likes of Taylor Swift and Lorde. It’s an extensive list of achievements for Antonoff, but it’s hard to top when he is at his strongest: as the man behind Bleachers.

Antonoff – as animated as I have ever seen – and the rest of his New Jersey-based indie pop outfit were more than alive for the duration of their hour-and-a-half headlining set at the Miller Lite Oasis. It was a show that was only fitting for a Summerfest Friday night, as the band’s atmosphere matched that of a raucous jolt into the weekend ahead.

Kicking things off with the ballad “91," fresh off of this past summer’s release “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night," Antonoff was illuminated with a single spotlight on stage, while his piano chops resonated throughout the youthful and very eager crowd.

The rest of Antonoff’s band stood by closely, as the minimalist piano ballad blossomed behind the singer’s crescendoing vocals, blasting into the shimmering indie pop that Bleachers are most known for. With the crowd now more than vitalized, the very shoutable love anthem “Let’s Get Married” and slick guitar riffs of “Shadow” broke out the blissfulness that, if you had been to any of the band's previous Summerfest sets, you would expect from Bleachers at the Big Gig. 

The pounding emphatic drum beats of “Wild Heart” gave way to the breezy “How Dare You Want More," highlighted by a jazzy back and forth guitar and saxophone battle, with Antonoff ripping solos on his Fender Jazzmaster only to be followed by – and even topped by – saxophonist Evan Smith.


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