In 2002, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World. By far the band’s biggest hit, “The Middle” helped take Jimmy from a relatively unknown emo act to pop rock mega-stars in the span of just a few months. Though the band hasn’t had a red hot single the likes of “The Middle” since, they’ve built a loyal following through consistent touring and steady album releases.
On the heels of their latest release Surviving, Jimmy Eat World made a stop in Lincoln Tuesday night (11/5) at the Bourbon Theatre. Even though the weather was a chilly 30 degrees, it didn’t stop the fans from packing the house for one of America’s best rock bands.
Along with Jimmy Eat World was the Brooklyn three piece Pronoun. Fronted by singer-songwriter Alyse Vellturo, Pronoun provided sultry vocals and an indie-pop synth sound that kept the room on chill mode. Though the band stepped out in white and blue jumpsuits looking like they were ready to skydive, they mostly stuck to their positions and smiled to the audience. Their set was fun, but a little more low-key than I would’ve liked. Pronoun is great at what they do, but I would’ve loved to see a more aggressive pop-punk band or maybe a dark new-wave act. However, the crowd seemed to enjoy the set with lots of clapping and woos, and that’s what really matters.
Side note: what’s up with bands wearing jumpsuits these days? Pronoun was the third band I’ve seen in the last 3 months that was wearing color coordinated jumpsuits. Where is this trend coming from? Please leave a comment if you have any leads.
After a short break it was time for the main act, Jimmy Eat World! I took my position in the photo pit and got ready to capture the magic. My adrenaline pulsed as the band members stepped on stage wearing all black. Lead singer Jim Adkins grabbed the microphone and the band ripped into the title track from their new album Surviving. With several standout tracks including “555,” “Criminal Energy,” “Stay (Go All the Way),” and “Love Never” Surviving just begs for you to dance and clap along, making the live experience just that much cooler.
After “Surviving,” Jimmy quickly turned things up another notch, playing their 2001 smash “Bleed American” from the album of the same title. The crowd reacted with screams of excitement and sang so loudly they almost overpowered the band! Even though the song is almost 20 years old, the lyrics still seem so fitting given the political unrest America has seen over the last few years.
“I’m not alone cause the TV’s on yea” “I’m not crazy cause I take the right pills every day” “Our lives our coal” “Sign up, it’s the picket line or the parade.”
After an older cut “Big Casino,” the band pulled out what might just be my favorite track from Surviving, “Criminal Energy.” This song absolutely rips! With dueling guitar solos and a crunchy beat, you just have to move your body. Luckily, it was the fourth song, otherwise, I would’ve looked pretty silly dancing in the photo pit.
Over the next hour Jimmy Eat World proceeded to delight the audience with top hits, new material, and deep cuts. The band kept a pretty good pace with not much break in between songs, but Jim Adkins did take a few moments to thank the crowd for coming out and showing the band support over all these years. He also laughed when a guy shouted “If you’re listening, whoa-oh-oh-oh!” Jim said “Say what you will, but that guy is committed!” Jim also mentioned that the band is crossing over their 25th anniversary. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone!
Towards the end of the set Jimmy pulled out a pair of smash hits from Bleed American, “The Sweetness” and what’s probably my favorite Jimmy Eat World song “A Praise Chorus.” Both songs had deafening crowd participation and gave me the best kind of chills. There’s nothing like being in a small room filled with strangers, singing your favorite song and feeling the connection that live music can give.
After a quick break Jimmy came back for an encore that included “Sure and Certain” from 2016’s Integrity Blues, and a killer new track from Surviving, “All the Way (Stay).” Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Jimmy Eat World show if they didn’t play the smash hit that made them a household name, “The Middle.”
Shout out to the frat bros in the back who talked the whole show then finally paid attention during the one song they knew and tried to sing along all drunken and tone deaf. Just imagine Barney from the Simpsons going “Hey!” “Don’t write yourself off yet!” It was very charming.
Even with the drunken frat bros fouling the atmosphere, nothing could bring me down. The only thing that could’ve made it better I suppose would be adding “Authority Song” to the set list. Seriously, I’ve covered nearly 50 shows this year and this one has a good chance of being in our Top Ten re-cap for 2019.
Also, make sure to pick up a copy of Surviving as it’s one of the best releases of 2019. If you’ve ever heard even one Jimmy Eat World song and thought “Oh, I like this” then trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
I’d like to give a huge thanks to Jimmy Eat World’s management and RCA Records for the photo access. Getting to cover this show was a true honor.
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Jimmy Eat World Gallery