When Bleachers take the stage at their MTV Unplugged show on Friday night (September 15), band leader Jack Antonoff will be following in the footsteps of his hero Bruce Springsteen. That's because the show takes place at the storied Stone Pony rock club in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where Springsteen cemented his icon status in the mid 1970s.
Antonoff, a fellow Garden State native, said he has followed Springsteen's songwriting advice — "gospel in the chorus, blues in the verse" — when creating his own music (specifically on Bleachers cuts "Don't Take the Money" and "I Wanna Get Better"). "The chorus, 'I wanna get better,' that's for everybody," Antonoff told MTV News' Gaby Wilson ahead of the show. "The verse is very personal about loss and anxiety and depression and all these things."
These new Unplugged sets — which kicked off last week with Shawn Mendes in Los Angeles — features artists performing at venues that hold some special significance to them.
For Antonoff, it had to be the Stone Pony because of its legendary shows and its unique layout: "In its normal setup, there's just kind of people everywhere, and I think this venue really fosters great live performances because people just see everything, every angle."
It's that drive to connect to the crowd that inspires Antonoff and, as he says, much of the music that comes out of his home state. "You're always looking in the window of the party — that's the feeling of a lot of New Jersey music. There's a hope and sense of, like, we gotta get the fuck out of here. We gotta do something."
Catch a preview of Bleachers' MTV Unplugged set below.
And watch Bleachers turn New Jersey's storied Stone Pony rock club into a gigantic party, with the help of some surprise guests, on MTV Unplugged this Friday, September 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.