The last time Jimmy Eat World did a headline show in London was in March 2005, having deserted us for a criminally long time to record, and mix…then remix again, their new album.
Luckily for them, and their fans, their latest offering ‘Chase This Light’ was well worth the wait, and tonight’s sold out show at Brixton Academy proves that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
Swinging onto stage at 9pm precisely the four piece throw them into their latest single ‘Big Casino’, a track they showcased at their double Reading slot this year, and which has been honed into big riff perfection. As they slide into ‘Sweetness‘ its clear the band are on cruise control – seamlessly winding from track to track, picking and choosing from crowd favourites like ‘Futures‘ and new material, like upcoming single ‘Always Be’ , and lesser known gems like ‘Disintegration‘, taken from their EP ‘Stay on My Side‘ – with Adkins spitting out the bitter line ‘Lie, lie, better next time‘. Guitarist Tom Linton takes over vocal duties for ‘Blister‘, reminding us how good as frontman he can be with a wry grin.
The crowd tonight is on fine vocal form too, and almost every line is sung back work perfect. Adkins trades vocals Linton throughout, layering harmonies over swaying guitars. ‘Bleed American‘ (aka Salt, Sweat, Sugar) brings the crowd to fever pitch – but it’s swiftly followed by the downbeat ‘For Me This Is Heaven‘. As the lyrics ‘Can you still feel the butterflies?’ drifts over the stage, there’s a moment of calmness over the crowd, which is swiftly slapped aside by the angry, hate laden vibes, crunching guitars with heavy bass, with the band toying with our senses every moment of the night. The lighting tonight slashes through the crowds, heightening emotions for every track, with glittering ropes as a back drop giving a Matrix style feel to the proceedings. Their live version of ‘23‘ is simply sublime, and we’re also treated to ‘Hear You Me‘ and a new version of ‘Your House’ – where Adkins smiles benignly as he sighs the lines ‘ And I know what happens, when we get to your house…you rip my heart right out, you rip my heart…right out.”
With ‘Chase This Light‘ Jimmy Eat World have totally come into their own, it brings a new found maturity backed up with tracks that thankfully haven’t lost their pop punk, sing-along anthems but don’t lapse into saccharine sweet drivel. Christ Testa and John Field’s slick production, coupled with Chris Lord Alge’s mixes have raised the bar with an eclectic mix of rock, emo , indie and everything in between and it’s easy to see how these guys have influenced so many of the middle America bands we’re hearing nowadays.
The set tonight is professional and slick and punchy- taking the audience by the collar on a rollercoaster of emotions. As they close the set with anthem ‘The Middle‘ there are smiles all round. Jimmy Eat World leave you on a total high that still has the crowd smiling, even when they realise the Victoria line’s closed already and it’s a long way home….
Jimmy Eat World play The Roundhouse on March 3rd 2008
For further info check out www.jimmyeatworld.net for further info and tour dates.