Bleachers, Bishop Briggs Headline ALT’s Kirby Center Concert
Cool things happen in Wilkes-Barre all of the time. You just need to know where to look. You can usually count on local alternative radio station ALT 92.1 to throw a solid party. On November 2, at the Kirby Center, they did just that.
After the cancellation of their annual summer music festival at the Montage Pavilion, ALT put together a powerhouse string of artists. The bill included the glam-rock influenced Struts, the Cleveland-based rock band Welshly Arms, solo artist and electronic queen Bishop Briggs, and the solo project of fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff, Bleachers. Another group, MisterWives, were set to perform as well, but backed out on the day before the show.
Even without MisterWives, there was still more than enough quality music being showcased. Even the Struts, who admitted to being the least known of the artists that performed, had a few songs that just about every person in the audience knew.
Rather than going through the sets of each artist and reviewing what went well and what didn’t, perhaps it would be more interesting to focus more directly on the music itself. On that note, here is my list of the ten best songs that were played at the Kirby Center on that night.
10. “Legendary” by Welshly Arms
Going into the show, I was the least familiar with Welshly Arms out of all of the acts. I had no idea that they were a fusion between Foo Fighters and Sly & the Family Stone. “Legendary,” a pure rocker that stretches the talents of each member of the band, is the only song on this list by Welshly Arms, but I would say it’s the best way to get into their music.
9. “Kiss This” by the Struts
The Struts wear their free-spirited, glam-rock attitude on their sleeves, and no song of theirs captures that more than the wickedly sassy “Kiss This.” Slightly cheesy, but not lacking in the catchiness department, “Kiss This” is a metaphor for the band and the genre.
8. “Don’t Take The Money” by Bleachers
Being that this is the song that Bleachers closed with, perhaps you would expect it to be a bit higher on the list. I’m not this song’s biggest fan, but I still think it’s something special. Its anthem vibe gives it appeal, and the masses definitely are into it. Things like that become particularly evident when a song is performed live.
7. “Dream” by Bishop Briggs
Bishop’s newest single will serve as the backbone of her next wave of music, and for good reason. There’s a slightly more organic sound at work here, which plays as a contrast to Bishop’s more electronic-based music. If “Dream” works as a sign of things to come, Bishop’s career trajectory is looking up.
6. “Like a River Runs” by Bleachers
I wasn’t too impressed with the live, acoustic version of “Like a River Runs,” but the studio version of it is some ultra-powerful stuff. Based around the heavy synthesizer that comes with many Bleachers songs, backed by one of my favorite drum tracks, this plays better as a driving down the highway song than it does a soft ballad.
5. “Could Have Been Me” by the Struts
The Struts take their image and crank it up a notch on this soaring, inspirational track about having no regrets. The simple premise gets elevated by some cutting lyrics that lift the song above the rest of the band’s catalog. The line “Don’t wanna wake up on a Monday morning/The thought of work is getting my skin crawling” is the one that always sticks with me. If that isn’t a call to all artists, I don’t know what is.
4. “Rollercoaster” by Bleachers
According to frontman Jack Antonoff, the sound behind “Rollercoaster” is what has fueled the rest of Bleachers’ music. It’s no wonder the song became a charting hit. It’s fun, for sure, and there is a distinctively summer feeling that comes with. The song doesn’t stop elevating. For lack of a better phrase, it’s such a rollercoaster.
3. “Wild Horses” by Bishop Briggs
As the song that introduced me to Bishop’s music, back before she added the “Briggs” to her stage name, it was a real treat to finally hear it live. The musical break surrounding the chorus is simply awesome. The second the beat dropped, the whole crowd knew Bishop was there to move the crowd.
2. “River” by Bishop Briggs
Have you ever been to a concert, and you get taken by surprise with a song that’s played? I had no idea this was a Bishop song, but I had no complaints when she played it. The Kirby Center’s acoustics could barely handle the sonic power of “River,” and that added to the kind of experience that you can only get off the record. It was probably the single best live performance of the night, but the best song of the whole was…
1. “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers
“I Wanna Get Better” is one of the greatest songs of all-time, and I’m not just saying that. The raw energy that it needs to be performed requires an enormous amount of soul-bearing madness that the song pulls off, overpowering the hopeful goal of needing to improve oneself. A masterpiece of music and lyric, it doesn’t