The Ally Coalition, which serves to raise funds and awareness for LGBTQ Youth experiencing homelessness across the country, held its 8th Annual Talent Show on the 19th of December at NYU’s Skirball Center. This event marked the show’s return as an in-person live event; the previous edition of the talent show was presented on the streaming platform Twitch.
We had the privilege of attending past talent shows in 2018 and 2019, which both featured immensely talented lineups of comedians and musicians as well as unannounced special guests. For the most recent edition, tickets went on sale with no announced lineup aside from Bleachers and was simply billed as a night of music and comedy. The audience would find out who was performing at the moment the talent was introduced on stage.
The Skirball Center’s stage was adorned with string lights, LED candles, Christmas trees, and menorahs which all enhanced the festive mood of the evening. Jack Antonoff of Bleachers and fashion designer Rachel Antonoff, both of whom contributed to the founding of the Ally Coalition, served as hosts. To kick off the show, Jack Antonoff performed a solo piano rendition of the Bleachers tune “I Miss Those Days,” which elicited an enthusiastic audience sing-along despite the more low-key presentation of the song.
Comedians Chris Laker, Jacqueline Novak, and Sam Morril all took the stage to treat the crowd to brief stand-up sets. The initial slate of musicians to perform included Jack Antonoff’s former fun. bandmate Andrew Dost, Saddest Factory Records artist Claud, and Joy Oladokun, whose two-song set included a cover of “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins.
Mike Birbiglia, in the midst of a run on Broadway with The Old Man and the Pool, entertained the audience with a humorous story about his high school wrestling days and then proceeded to introduce Natalie Mering of Weyes Blood. Mering, who had recently released And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, performed “Picture Me Better” solo acoustically as well as a rendition of “O Holy Night” while backed by Jack Antonoff on piano and several other members of the Bleachers band.
Bleachers would mostly remain on stage for the rest of the night to perform their own material—including the premiere of a song called “Merry Christmas, Please Don’t Call”—and also to serve as the backing band for the remaining musicians who had yet to take the stage.
The audience reacted excitedly to the announcement of Matty Healy, who performed three songs by The 1975 and then stuck around on stage for the remainder of the show. The next guest was Trey Anastasio of Phish who accompanied Bleachers for two songs, including a cover of “Bloodbuzz Ohio” by The National.
The largest crowd reaction came when Phoebe Bridgers took the stage along with Christian Lee Hutson and Lucy Dacus. Bridgers would perform “Graceland, Too” and “I Know The End,” which elicited passionate screams from the audience.
To cap off the evening, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, Natalie Mering, Matty Healy, Trey Anastasio, and Jack Antonoff all convened to perform “These Days” by Jackson Browne, a song which is largely recognized for its rendition by Nico.
Continue below for a full gallery of all the musicians and comedians who participated in The 8th Annual Ally Coalition Talent Show.
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