Concert Review: Bleached @ U Street Music Hall (9/17/19)

Bleached
Bleached (Photo Credit: Nicky Giraffe)

Bleached, the LA punk pop band, came to our fair city to crush an excellent show at U Street Music Hall on September 17th.

After a fiery set by the openers The Paranoyds (also from LA), Bleached ignited U Street Music Hall with “Shitty Ballet”. Much of the song is simply an acoustic guitar played by Jessie, and Jennifer sincerely singing about heartbreak, before it picks up at the end when the drums and bass kick in.

Bleached is sisters Jessie (guitar) and Jennifer Clavin (vocals), and two additional band members for the tour, Matt (on bass) and Spencer (on drums) who all meshed together for the second song, “Heartbeat Away”, with cool syncopated beats, providing a solid indicator the night was going to go well. And it did.

They are touring for their third album (released in July), Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?, and the first six songs of their set were all from the album (they played eight album songs, out of 13 total for the evening).

Next came “Kiss You Goodbye”, a funky early 1980’s pop throwback, and certainly cemented the crowds’ enthusiasm for the show (presumably). U Hall was not sold out, but many in attendance definitely knew of Bleached and were enjoying the new material.

Some of the songs they performed tend to stand out vocally for Jennifer’s range, and “Hard to Kill” was one of those, and likely my favorite song that night, with whistling and syncopated lyrics. The lyrics speak to their recent battles with addiction that they’ve overcome. I especially liked the great chorus, ‘All the cities that we burned down, turns out I’m very hard to kill.’ Indeed.

“Wednesday Night Melody” gave us a long musical intro, and the structure and beats may or may not remind one of a classic Weezer song (I’m team ‘may’). I did enjoy Jennifer’s hook “Come on boy dry your eyes, it’s good to feel just a little alive’, although the song is actually about wasting away taking drugs. “Wednesday” is from their second album, Welcome to the Worms, and since then they’ve battled to get sober and overcome addiction. The process to create the new album was about ‘self-love’ and letting go of the past and unhealthy relationships. It’s easy to hear the clear and intentional pride and joy in how they crafted their new music.

Near the end of the main set the hand clappy “Daydream” was an enjoyable coda, with its heavy beats and yearning lyrics.

Once they returned for their two-song encore, they gave us an earlier punk song “Think of You”, and “Dead in Your Head”, with it’s doo-wop flavored pop.

To be fair, I don’t agree with the title of their new album, because we didn’t have enough. Not nearly.

So look for Bleached next time they perform in DC and give Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? multiple listens!

Setlist
Shitty Ballet
Heartbeat Away
Kiss You Goodbye
Hard to Kill
Somebody Dial 911
Valley to LA
Sleepwalking
Wednesday Night Melody
Electric Chair
Daydream
Rebound City

Encore
Think of You
Dead in Your Head

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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