“Columbus, when you dream about playing a show, this is what you dream about,” proclaimed Jack Antonoff of Bleachers on Friday, June 16.
The show in question had a jam-packed alt-pop lineup: between Bleachers’ headlining spot and MisterWives as an opener, the Express Live venue was buzzing with excitement from the moment doors opened. Despite the oppressive heat, it felt as though there was not a single person in the venue who wasn’t happy to be there.
I’d heard of MUNA before their opening set, but I wasn’t prepared for how bold and spunky their set would be. It was almost as though they didn’t know that they were the first band of the night – meaning that they were there to give their all and dammit, they did just that. She seemed to rise above the heat, bringing the crowd with her and infusing them with her endless energy.
Bishop Briggs, a cool mix of hip-hop and rock, twitched and threw herself around onstage as her band danced their hearts out in the back. Her intensity was unrivaled by anyone in the venue, with a slightly darker mood that became tangible immediately upon her arrival to the stage. In fact, she might be the only person who can rock a Lululemon skirt and still look intimidating. Her sound was effortlessly cool, once again overcoming the humidity to stalk around onstage as if looking for prey.
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not Mandy Lee can really sing the way she does on MisterWives’ Connect The Dots, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Her note accuracy was unrivaled, even when every other instrument dropped out, and the range of her songs was impressive, to say the least. The band’s harmonies were even cooler in person, and every single musician onstage was clearly playing with everything they had. Machine was exactly as powerful as I expected, and fans knew every word.
Finally getting to see the band that got me interested in music live for the first time was inexplicably amazing. Antonoff peppered the setlist with anecdotes from the day in Columbus and on tour. After introducing Matt, their sound tech who happens to be from Columbus, he proudly said, “We’re a Columbus band tonight if that’s okay with you.”
“I finally know what it’s all about,” Antonoff said. “I understand why people love this city so much.”
For Bleachers’ entire set, the crowd became one entity. I Miss Those Days had me feeling things I didn’t know I was capable of feeling, and when Antonoff yelled, “Columbus, let’s get married!”, Let’s Get Married felt like a scene from a movie. In fact, the whole show was full of movie moments – a softer rendition of Fun.’s Carry On followed by Like A River Runs brought tears to my eyes as I tipped my head back to see the starry night sky. It was almost too cliché, but when a cover of Stevie Nicks’ Go Your Own Way left me lightheaded from dancing, it was impossible to care.
Friday night was easily one of the top three shows I’ve ever seen. Throughout each opener, the excitement only built, and by the time MisterWives came on, I was ready to jump out of my own skin from exhilaration and nerves. I’m not ashamed to admit that I teared up more than once, and it felt almost surreal to see Bleachers in person. If you get the chance, definitely go see a show on this tour. In fact, I’m considering driving to see it again. It was just that good.