View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
  2. Music
21 March 2024

Jack Antonoff’s Bleachers sound more earnest than ever

At the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, the band moved away from Springsteen-inspired belters to focus on gentle synths and sincere lyrics.

By Megan Kenyon

When I last saw Bleachers perform their indie rock in London two years ago, Jack Antonoff chucked giant inflatable tomatoes into the audience. On 20 March, at the second of two sold-out shows at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, north-west London, the craziest it gets is a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Matt, the band’s “front-of-house” guy. Antonoff hands a birthday cake down into the crowd, who unevenly pass it backwards towards the bar. He almost follows, wobbling at the edge of the barrier between the stage and the stalls, but stops short of attempting a full-on crowd surf. The previous night, he fell over moving closer to the huddle of fans squeezed up to the stage.

The night I see the band, he describes Kent as the “New Jersey of England” (a questionable comparison). Antonoff’s performance comes fresh off the back of his third consecutive Grammy for Producer of the Year. And it is for his production work that Antonoff is better known, most recently on Taylor Swift’s Midnights and Lana del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.

Bleachers, who were formed in 2013, is Antonoff’s passion project; a side hustle to his more eminent work as a producer. The band released their fourth, self-titled album earlier this month. The record posits a different, more authentic side to Bleachers’ sound, a real change from the Springsteen-inspired belters of their back catalogue. New songs such as “Me Before You” or “Tiny Moves” are more thoughtful and poised than earlier crowd pleasers like “I Wanna Get Better” or “Rollercoaster”. The band’s new tracks incorporate gentle synth melodies and earnest lyrics in direct contrast with the louder, rock-inspired singalongs of their earlier style. This shift mirrors transitions in Antonoff’s personal life. Last year, he married the actress Margaret Qualley in a heavily publicised New Jersey wedding and most of the songs on the new album are love letters to her. Despite this tonal shift, the energy in the room never wanes. Antonoff – who may just be the busiest man in music – shows no signs of slowing down yet.

[See also: Laufey at EartH: woozy and nostalgic love songs]

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Unlocking the potential of a national asset, St Pancras International
Time for Labour to turn the tide on children’s health
How can we deliver better rail journeys for customers?

Topics in this article :
Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU