Jimmy Eat World
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- Jimmy Eat World »
Jimmy Eat World** are a remarkable band. Before you stop, scoff, click back on your browser and peer at a Radiohead news story, let me explain. This isn’t an adoring fan letter (well, not too much), nor is it a sensationalist, witty attempt to find merit in a band as perfunctory and simple as a pint of milk.
JEW’s remarkableness lies in the fact that they’re a band who will never win any accolades, feature in a Q best albums poll, or even a ridiculous Channel 4 talking-heads documentary about rock or pop music in any decade. Yet despite this, they manage to be a band that means a great deal to many, many people. And for every brickbat they dodge and eyebrow-raised sneer they ignore, they simply grow in power. In a recent weekend broadsheet, there was a feature listing the 50 most powerful blogs in the world. If you tilt that slightly and consider who are the 50 most featured ‘blog bands’, you’d probably have a safe bet in laying it on JEW to be in there. Being that the internet is probably the most democratic measure of a band’s popularity these days, it’s worth noting. And Jimmy Eat World are indeed a democratic band; people vote with their feet at the four-piece’s continually large and evangelically attended concerts in the States and across Europe. You can’t rig these votes; people just love them. And that, in the face of little radio or TV support and some derisive press panning, is quite remarkable, you would have to agree.
Tonight’s show is a pumped-up, vein-bulging muscle of rock from the off: opener ‘Big Casino’, stripped of its over-production on the band’s new record _Chase This Light, fits in comfortably with the band’s set, akin to having been performed night after night for a decade. Certainly, the fans crammed at the front treat it as a favourite, echoing the kiss-off line “I’m a New Jersey success story” with enough residual energy to power the band’s blazing light show themselves. Always the savvy bunch, JEW offer up ‘A Praise Chorus’ and ‘Sweetness’ in swift succession, keeping those in the less-cheap seats happy too. Indeed, the relationship between fans and band is symbiotic – the adulation that sweats from the crowd only seems to inspire the band to play harder and for longer.
And long is very much the watch word for tonight’s performance – following on from a main set that lasts an hour and includes a fine mix of tracks old and new including a triumphant ‘Blister’ from the band’s much vaunted second album, Clarity, the band return to play another nine songs. It’s these sorts of gestures that leave their fans in raptures, ticking off how many tracks appear from early albums (a truncated ‘Goodbye Sky Harbour’ leaves the kids particularly breathless), combined with rarely played songs like ‘Just Tonight…’ from the heavily represented Futures LP. Inevitably, but no-less fantastically, the band wind things up with a propulsive ‘The Middle’, which sees a bursting-at-the-seams Roundhouse thrashing in joyous unison.
To claim that JEW are simply meat and potato rock made simple for the uncritical masses is to fail to inspect the ingredients properly. It’s much more of a gastro-pub effort. The composite elements maybe earthy and warming, but it’s a stew put together and offered up in a way that is far more alluring and sophisticated than you’d imagine. And even if you don’t agree, isn’t there always a place for bangers and mash?
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