The Riv // Chicago, IL // November 10, 2017

Jack Antonoff’s band keeps getting better and better.

Jack Antonoff has always held a soft spot for Chicago. “Chicago has always had my back and this weekend means the world,” he wrote on his Instagram after his sold out show at The Riv and before his show at The Vic. In 2010, I was lucky enough to spend the day in the studio with Amanda Palmer while she recorded a cover for Steel Train’s album. I had no idea at the time that this was Antonoff’s first band, and I certainly didn’t imagine I’d be at his sold-out show seven years later, staring at him from the photo pit in awe while I briefly forgot that I was meant to be photographing his band, Bleachers. Antonoff started the show behind a piano, dressed in a glamorous white military uniform like Elton John circa 1974 and playing “Dream of Mickey Mantle”. The song sounds like a B-side from Bruce Springsteen’s album Born to Run, and Bleachers perfectly embody that American rock n roll sound.

(Bleachers at The Riv, 11.11.17)

Australian singer-songwriter Amy Shark is currently opening Bleachers’ tour. Her passionate lyrics and sultry voice were a perfect way to get the night started, and Shark admitted that working with Bleachers has been a dream. “When Jack calls and asks you to tour with him, you go, no matter how far away you are!” Shark said, describing how she flew over to the States on the first plane she could catch. While she is still relatively unknown in the U.S., she won’t remain a secret for long. Having already performed on The Late Show with James Corden, the Aussie starts her headlining North American tour on February 20th of next year. With the success of her opening for Bleachers, these shows will likely sell out quickly.

Before Antonoff and his band came on, Bishop Briggs gave the crowd the most energetic set of the evening. The English-born singer has risen to stardom after her hit song “River” reached #1 on Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 and hasn’t stopped gaining popularity since. While Briggs is often quiet at her shows, she shared a story about Antonoff that evening. “He [Antonoff] came to see me perform in L.A. and told me that my music made him want to write,” Briggs said behind a veil of tears. “You dreams are valid, and you are worthy. I still can’t believe I’m opening for Bleachers now!” Performing “River” as well as her newest hit “White Horses”, Briggs reminded us why she is on the way to becoming a superstar. Her voice sounds even more powerful in person, and her enthusiasm is unmatched.

While Antononff wears many hats, including being a songwriter for Lorde and Taylor Swift, his talent really shines when he’s onstage, singing his own songs. Having battled depression and anxiety for years, Antonoff has said that he feels most at ease when immersed in music. His passion and love for his fans is palpable on and offstage, and it’s clear that his humility and ability to separate himself from his accomplishments will keep him grounded as an artist. Bleachers are one of the most exciting acts to see live, and Amy Shark and Bishop Briggs were the perfect openers for this show.

Amy Shark


Bishop Briggs