Night One of two with Bleachers in Nashville

It was Night One of two for Bleachers at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The pews were filled with people of all ages, all ready to jam with the six-piece band. However, the evening began with a hypnotic performance by Samia.

The opener graced the stage with her ethereal energy and commenced the evening with “Pool” from her 2020 debut album, The Baby. A pink microphone cable was the only pop of color in her strictly black-and-white attire. The musician, previously based in Nashville, knelt down and sang a few lines to two eager front row fans who appeared to know nearly every lyric.

Samia offered the Ryman free-spirited dancing and sweet harmonies with background vocalist, Alycia Lang.

She wrapped up her set with a heartfelt performance of another song from The Baby — “Is There Something in the Movies?”.

Concertgoers then hopped to their feet as they awaited the headliner. The stage was adorned with a checkerboard floor and an all-white painted set with one drum kit on either side of the stage. Ironically, Bleachers took the stage two minutes late as they opened with “I Am Right On Time” from their self-titled 2024 album. The followup song was the saxophone-heavy, undeniably danceable single “Modern Girl”.

Bleachers is made up of six multi-instrumentalists, who posted up at a few different spots on stage throughout the show.

Frontman Jack Antonoff wore black slacks, a white tank top, and a leather jacket, which he eventually ditched. Beyond his band, formed in 2014, Antonoff is known as a prolific songwriter and producer who frequently collaborates with artists such as Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, and Lorde to name a few.

After jamming out during the first handful of songs, Antonoff surprised the crowd with Nashville-based rising star, Joy Oladokun. The two serenaded the Ryman with an acoustic rendition of Lana Del Rey and Antonoff’s “Margaret”. After a few more slower acoustic performances, Bleachers jumped back into rocking out.

In addition to his musical gifts, Antonoff has a talent for crafting banter with his audience. During the latter half of the set, a member of the crowd struck up a conversation with the singer; the nearly 10-minute exchange consisted of music industry politics and innuendos, making it feel like a standup comedy act-style intermission.

As the evening approached its end, a couple of lucky fans got Antonoff to write personal notes on their homemade signs as the rest of the band continued to jam out. No one wanted the night to be over as the evening concluded with one of Bleachers’ 2021 singles, “Stop Making This Hurt”. Saxophonists Evan Smith and Zem Adu played until the last possible second before the stage lights were cut and the house lights illuminated the auditorium.

Photography Stephanie Swart

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