BØRNS | Bleachers | Charli XCX – Fillmore, Detroit (August 11, 2015)

Triple Header in Detroit

Triple Header in Detroit

What a stacked bill.  The “Charli and Jack Do America” tour was not on my radar.  At all.  I like Charli alright and BØRNS‘ EP Candy is pretty awesome.  I can’t stand fun., so I assumed I wouldn’t like Bleachers.  Oh, ho ho, was I wrong.  Thank God for flagging sales…

LiveNation had a “deal” for their stop in Detroit: partnered with local rock station 89.1, they’d sell the balcony nosebleeds for $8.90 (plus $3 service fee) and try to fill the place up.  I couldn’t resist.  Adding on a voucher that I’d been saving from LiveNation (bestowed upon me because I go to way too many concerts), our final cost was $4.40 per ticket.  That’s like $1.45 per act.  Jackpot.

Although Detroit is still struggling to recover from ’08, the city still has its charms and history.  The Fillmore (formerly the State Theater) has been on my venue bucket list for a long time and I was floored.  This place is GORGEOUS.  I’m from Boston, so let me use local comparisons: imagine the intimacy of Paradise with a vibe like House of Blues or the Palladium, tacked on top of the class of the Orpheum or Boston Opera House.  What a place.

When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the nosebleed balcony GA section was closed and they had opened up the floor to all ticket holders.  Nobody wanted these tickets, it seemed.  Even though we arrived when BØRNS was wrapping up his first song (“Seeing Stars”), there was enough space to get a sweet spot just 1/4 away from the stage.

Hometown Boy, BØRNS

Hometown Boy, BØRNS

The floor was packed for the hometown boy.  Even though he only has a 4-song EP, he peppered in some new songs and a cover of Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets.”  His falsetto is spot-on live and the band is so tight you’d think they were a few albums/tours in.  They were so good that I saw them a few days later (for FREE) in downtown Ann Arbor for a summer radio “lunch” event.  Get on BØRNS now before they blow up.  Full-length LP drops in October.  This kid is gonna be huge.

BØRNS in downtown Ann Arbor (8/13/15)

BØRNS in downtown Ann Arbor (8/13/15)

After a short break, the first headliner of this double-headlining tour came on.  Bleachers is the band of Jack Antonoff, guitarist for fun. and Lena Dunham’s arm candy.  Fun. is alright, but I can’t stand Nate Ruess.  So sorry, Jack, I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.  They put on an amazing show.  With the energy of pop-punk bands in their prime, c. 2001-2003 (think Blink, Jimmy Eat World, Fall Out Boy, etc) and a little bit of ’80s hair metal flair, they blasted the audience with jam after jam, playing those instruments as adeptly as a much older band.  Jack absolutely owns the crowd and everyone ate it up.  “Tuesday night in Detroit!”  It was absolute joyful bliss to see a band and audience connect like that.  I would pay to see these guys again.  In a year where I’ve seen Clutch, Mastodon, Kaiser Chiefs, U2, Interpol, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift, I can say hands down that Bleachers put on a better show than more than a few of those aforementioned marquee names.

More fun than fun. - Bleachers

More fun than fun. – Bleachers

And then we have Charli XCX.  Now, I keep up with all types of music (except country… sorry, I just can’t) and, in my mind, Charli XCX is huge.  She’s a radio star (see: “Boom Clap”) and writes bangers for other equally cool (see: Icona Pop) and not-so-cool-anymore (see: Iggy Azalea) ladies.  Her old stuff is dark synth-pop beauty, reminiscent of Bat for Lashes, if Natasha Khan were a brat like Lily Allen.  Her newest LP Sucker is a slight departure, maintaining her bratty, sneering “fuck you, sucker” attitude, while polishing it off with amazingly clean pop production.  I’d have figured she’d be a worthy final headliner.  Then I saw the floor clearing.  People were actually leaving in tiny droves.  Did I miss something?  I know tickets were cheap, but you still paid for the whole show…  Even when her giant pink-witch middle finger banner dropped and she came on with her awesome all-girl band, people were filing out.  Even as the die-hards on the floor were jumping with their hands in the air, folks were bailing.  Even before she played “Boom Clap,” almost a quarter of the audience was gone.  The section directly in front of me was literally devoid of people.  Just a vast empty space that could have held about 30 concertgoers, minimum.  It was embarrassing.  But the weirdest thing is that Charli put on a pretty good show.  Her songs could be annoying (see: lyrics) but the music is fun, loud, and energizing.  I don’t get it.  By the time she ended the show with her big hit, we had no problem just traipsing out the front door, no crowd to fight through, no slow crawl toward fresh air.  It was the weirdest thing.

Where'd everyone go? Charli XCX and her big inflatable guitar

Where’d everyone go? Charli XCX and her big inflatable guitar

Maybe Bleachers should have headlined.

 

BØRNS setlist:

1. Seeing Stars
2. 10,000 Emerald Pools
3. Past Lives
4. Broke
5. Bennie and the Jets (Elton John cover)
6. American Money
7. Electric Love

Bleachers setlist:

1. Shadow
2. Wild Heart
3. Wake Me
4. Reckless Love
5. Dreams  (The Cranberries cover)
6. Rollercoaster
7. Shadow of the City
8. You’re Still a Mystery
Encore:
9. Only One  (Kanye West cover)
10. I Wanna Get Better

Charli XCX setlist:

1. Sucker
2. Breaking Up
3. I Love It (Icona Pop cover)
4. Famous
5. SuperLove
6. Doing It
7. Need Ur Luv
8. Allergic to Love
9. Mow That Lawn
10. Body of My Own
11. London Queen
12. Break the Rules
13. Gold Coins
14. Fancy  (Iggy Azalea cover)
15. Boom Clap

 

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