One of my formative albums first getting into rock music was Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American record way back in 2001. However, I’d still not seen the Arizona-based quintet play live, until last night at the impressive venue of Troxy in East London.
One thing to note about last night is that sitting down for rock concerts is not the way to go, it’s the first time I’ve done it and it felt strange to not be able to jump up and down and rock out whenever I fancied it. But, that’s not to take away from what was a great night of rock entertainment.
First up was Reading-based The Amazons, who stepped in as a late change of support act and they didn’t disappoint. If I’m honest I hadn’t heard of them before last night, but I’ll absolutely be listening to them from now on.
From my position way up high my most striking observations were: lots of hair, lots of big guitar sound and lots of vocals – there were three singers with both the lead guitarist and the bassist getting in on the vocal action.
That’s not to be construed as a negative, they sounded absolutely superb. Standout track was their most recent release In My Mind, which opens up with a great little guitar riff before funky guitar bursts support the lead singer’s laid back vocals, high vocal bursts sounded really cool before the guitar riff comes back in, and the song built up into a heavy full-band jam. All in all it’s a really good tune that sounds awesome live.
Other tracks that went down well were Millions (The Party), with more big guitar chords and another funky guitar riff, and Junk Food Forever, which started slowly but gradually built up into a mass of big guitar chords. They’re a really fun band that we’ll be hoping to hear more from.
One cool moment from their set was when before beginning their final song the lead singer told the audience: “Tuesday we were playing in Finsbury to 150 people but this is a little bit different!”
Then it was time for the headline act, the mighty Jimmy Eat World, who’ve now been going for longer than some of the people at last night’s gig have been alive – an impressive 23 years.
They opened up in style with the excellent new single Get Right and, just in case the audience wasn’t quite up for it, followed that up with the superb Bleed American. They sounded fantastic live, with Jim Adkins’ voice sounding brilliant and plenty of energy in these full-on rock opening tracks. If I hadn’t been sitting down, I would have jumping up and down in appreciation.
They threw a few of their new songs into the mix along with some of the old classics, mixing the pace between their rockier tracks and bringing the pace down a little with songs like You Are Free from new album Integrity Blues.
As you’d expect Jimmy Eat World put on quite a show, including some impressive lighting action. Standout track in terms of this was with the rendition of Futures, which was superb live aided by rotating, flashing blue and red strobe lights.
That was followed by Jim handing over lead singing reigns to guitarist Tom Linton as they threw us back to 1999 with Blister, from their Clarity album. This saw a high point from the night as the band dropped out for the audience to join in with Tom for the “And how long would it take me to walk across the United States, all alone” lyric then the whole band joined in for one big rock-out.
The pace dropped down a little again after this including another hark back to 1999 with the beautiful For Me This Is Heaven and one of my favourite lines ever “Can you still feel the butterflies?” followed by Lucky Denver Mint.
The band went off for a very brief rest as the audience raucously and incessantly begged for more, and they soon obliged. They returned looking a little overwhelmed by the audience’s support and Jim told us: “If you were to tell a 19-year-old me to close my eyes and imagine the perfect show, this would be it. It’s an honour to be here and play for you.”
And if that wasn’t enough to get the audience going, then returning with The Middle certainly was. I don’t think there was a single person in the Troxy not singing along to it and the whole place began to sound a lot louder.
That was followed up by second single from Integrity Blues, Sure and Certain, which sounded really good live.
But Jim and the boys saved the best for last, as they rounded out the evening with probably my favourite Jimmy Eat World track Sweetness, from Bleed American. As you can imagine this was absolutely huge live and the entire audience singing along to the repeated ‘wohh ohh’ made the hairs on your arms tingle. It was a more than fitting way to bring a brilliant set to an end.
Given Bleed American was one of the first albums to get me into rock music and really evolve my musical taste, seeing them live after so long was a real thrill. They were brilliant live and continue to be as good as ever, and long may that last.
I’ll leave the last the word to the superb Jim Adkins, when he told the audience:
“This is always the best city for us to play, it’s always kind of a bummer for us to go back to the US and play a show. People here seem to have always made up their mind they’re going to have a good time when they’ve left the house.”
And a good time was certainly had by all at Troxy last night. What a man, and long live Jimmy Eat World.