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Gallery: Bleachers and Samia Take The Sadness Out of Friday Night in New Haven

Manic Presents: The From The Studio To The Stage Tour, June 7, in New Haven, Connecticut

Words and Photos by: Chantel Malin | @chantelmalin


Bleachers and Samia teamed up this year for the From The Studio To The Stage Tour, in celebration of the former's recent self-titled record and fourth full-length LP. The tour started in Europe in March this year, followed by a trip across the United States, and will finish up in Asbury Park on June 16 with the band's annual Shadow of the City festival.


Jack Antonoff has rapidly become a household name in the past few years, with Grammy wins under his belt and critical acclaim for his work as a producer with artists such as Taylor Swift, Lorde, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent, The 1975, and countless more. However, longtime fans will know him for his very own music; after being parts of the bands Steel Train and fun. For several years, Antonoff officially adopted the Bleachers name in 2013, and has amassed a particularly devoted and faithful fanbase in the following years.


Singer-songwriter Samia Finnerty has attracted attention with her hauntingly beautiful voice, whose delicate tone pairs so perfectly with the devastating, gut-wrenching lyrics that speak to the universal heartbreaks and pain we all experience. 2020's The Baby arrived at the perfect time; amidst one of isolation and uncertainty, the record speaks of accepting the love and care from others, and our inherent need for people. 2023's Honey features a striking contrast of objectively "happy" and "sad" songs, an excellent allegory for the human experience, and is not shy in its confrontation of the darker corners of the mind on tracks such as the otherworldly "Kill Her Freak Out."


Samia and her band delivered a fantastic performance for their Connecticut debut in support of Bleachers. Their set included the songs "Pool," "Big Wheel," "Triptych," and more. "Fit N Full" saw the singer express her joyous side, using her stage well to pump up the energy and enthrall with her fun dance moves and infectious smile; "Kill Her Freak Out" brought us to the polar opposite, the venue so silent and reverent you could hear a pin drop. New Haven was also treated to a performance of the unreleased track "Bovine Excision," as well as the lesser-performed fan favorite "Stellate." The title track of Samia's most recent record, "Honey," gave the audience a chance to warm up their vocal cords with a sing along, before closing out with "Is There Something in the Movies?"


Check out the full gallery of Samia below!



New Haven enthusiastically welcomed Bleachers for their very first Connecticut headliner, with a packed Westville Bowl from the floor all the way up to the nosebleeds. From loyal fans of nearly a decade camped out at the front row to newcomers to Antonoff's work, a Bleachers show truly has something for everyone. And for a small city, Bleachers did not hesitate to pull out all the stops - with two drummers (Sean Hutchinson and Michael Riddleberger), two saxophonists (Zem Audu and the beloved Evan Smith), guitarist Mikey Freedom Hart, alongside the entire world built on stage from stairs to the checkered floor to the lit up "recording" light - the show is so much more than just a concert.


Though Connecticut isn't quite Bleachers' home state of New Jersey, it was the first east coast date of the tour, and so Antonoff considered a homecoming of sorts all the same. And he most definitely made it a family affair; he had his father Ricky, well known and adored by Bleachers fans, join him on guitar for "How Dare You Want More." On the city of the night, Antonoff made sure to express his disappointed in the way Connecticut often gets skipped over ("fuck the ignoring of Connecticut that happens!") and especially commented on the poignancy of performing the Bruce Springsteen collaboration "Chinatown" on this side of the country.


And, of course, Bleachers would not be Bleachers without the fans. A highlight of the concert, "Rollercoaster" is always a special song to experience live. Antonoff took time to comment on how the song marked the real birth of Bleachers; he had spent so much time stuck in his head, struggling to express himself in music, until he heard the low drone of a Juno synthesizer that changed everything for him and opened up an entire new world. And, in the true spirit of togetherness the song inspires, he always asks concertgoers to hop up on their friends' shoulders for the performance, a request many happily obliged. And, speaking of requests, Bleachers even added "Let's Get Married" to the set upon request, which ended up with a couple getting engaged in the middle of the song.


An acoustic section of the evening included "Call Me After Midnight," a portion of "91," Antonoff's verse on Lana Del Rey's song "Margaret," and a snipped of "Dream of Mickey Mantle." The singer made sure to deeply and sincerely thank every inch of the audience, from the die hards at the barricade to those screaming way up in the rafters. He also commented on how many of the first shows he ever played on tours were to tiny audiences of 5-10 people at the Webster in Hartford, and the Empress Ballroom in Danbury. Bleachers admittedly doesn't do encores because, in Antonoff's own words, "it feels weird," but they sure played out the concert with a bang. The energy came right back up after the acoustic break down for "Ordinary Heaven," "Tiny Moves," "I Wanna Get Better, and "Don't Take The Money," before closing out with "Stop Making This Hurt" featuring an extended outro and a sax battle of epic proportions.


Bleachers shows have long been a place to find community, belonging, in purpose, much in the way music has done so for Jack Antonoff himself. Having grown from playing smaller clubs to an upcoming sold out Madison Square Garden this fall, Antonoff has never lost sight of the passion that has fueled his career, nor the fans who have carried him along the way. Bleachers has a larger than life, euphoric sound that is destined to play arenas and huge venues, and it was truly a pleasure and an honor for New Haven to play a small part in that journey.


Check out the full gallery of Bleachers below!



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