Jimmy Eat World
Heading Towards The MainstreamBy Pey-Hua Hwang
Jimmy Eat World headlined a sold-out concert at the Paradise Rock Club on September 1. Before the doors even opened, a line had formed all the way down the block, and people willing to pay double for tickets walked back and forth with cardboard signs. As the Paradise Rock Club doesn’t have assigned seating, people began lining up as early as six o’clock.
Reuben’s Accomplice was the opening act, and provided plenty of loud guitar noise. Although their performance was a bit lacking as far as vocals were concerned, the seven-song set wasn’t a total waste, as it did have a couple of highlights from their new album I Blame the Scenery. These brought out some nice contrasting mellow and driving sections, as well as some interesting harmonies.
Following relatively quick set change later, Hey Mercedes took over the stage with an energy that was exponentially greater than Reuben’s Accomplice. They played a nine-song set, promoting their new album, Every Night Fireworks. Their set concluded with a great piece called “Bells,” which featured dueling guitars and a drum solo. Other particularly excellent songs included “Eleven to your Seven,” “Our Weekend Starts on Wednesday,” and “Let’s Go Blue.” Every member of the band was tuned in to the general group vibe, and it was obvious that they were enjoying themselves on the stage. Their cut-offs and entrances were crisp, and their vocals were clear, which was refreshing because their lyrics were definitely worth hearing. This group showed a great deal of potential, and it will be no surprise if they soon begin headlining concerts all by themselves.
Then Jimmy Eat World kicked up the volume with “Bleed American,” the title song of their new album. While they definitely had the most finished and melodic sound of the three groups, and the group still managed to maintain the raw intensity of the previous two acts. The pace didn’t slack with “Praise Chorus,” and the lead singer was drenched with sweat by its end. The group managed to relax slightly for “The Middle,” as they pumped out what could be characterized as mature angst. “Your New Aesthetic” brought back the frenetic pace with some great guitar riffs, while “Claire” and “Episode IV” allowed the crowd to breathe. In these pieces, the group revealed more introspective lines. Jim Adkins and Tom Linton traded vocals and guitar lines as the lighting system swirled around them. The lull was soon replaced by the harder sounds of “Thinking, That’s Al,l” and the infectious chorus of “If You Don’t/Don’t.” There were calls after each song by the fans, and some of these requests were answered as they played “For Me This is Heaven” and “Hear You Me.” However, their biggest pop hit “Lucky Denver Mint” was not on the set list, which would eventually total 19 songs. Jimmy Eat World concluded by pumping their incredible energy into “Blister” and “Sweetness,” the latter of which had almost the entire audience singing along.
Jimmy Eat World played music off all of their albums; Bleed American, Clarity, Static Prevails, and Jebediah/Jimmy Eat World. In comparison to their album sound, the live band has a much more polished sound on the older tracks, and a fresh energy in the newest songs. They have evolved a great deal since their first album, which was much more about thrashing guitars than vocal involvement. “No Sensitivity” off of Jebediah/Jimmy Eat World contrasted starkly with “Sweetness” from Bleed American. While some have called the band’s changing sound “selling-out,” bands that don’t evolve often disappear, never to be heard of again. The only disappointment in their performance was that the drummer’s part was rather nondescript. However, this was a minor defect in an otherwise powerful performance. Jimmy Eat World may not be a mainstream band, but their fringe status may not last long.