Arizona alt-rock legends Jimmy Eat World live at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre and Belfast’s Limelight 1. Words by Loreana Rushe, photos by Sara Marsden and Pedro Giaquinto.
Olympia Theatre, Dublin
You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the early 2000s. A time when dragging the hems of extremely wide trousers adorned with bike chains through puddles was a given and people were daft enough to spend money on Limp Bizkit albums. Mention the term Emo and you’re sure to instigate mockery and jokes about MySpace fringes, but ‘Emotional Hardcore’ is it so widely associated with this image now and a far cry from the pioneers of the genre such as Rites of Spring, Cap N Jazz and The Promise Ring. Where Jimmy Eat World fit in these days is a good question. It seems like the band have taken their fans with them on this journey, save for the one or two teenagers they’ve picked up along the way with their latest offering in ‘ntegrity Blues which they’re currently touring. It ideally works as a portal from 2001’s acclaimed Bleed American and by the sound of the new record it’s as if those years between never existed.
They take to the stage surrounded by street lamps and the evening proceeds with an otherwise no-frills set which is perfect for a band who always make it about the music and less about the production values, in their sensible shoes and black shirts. The unmistakable slam of ‘Bleed American’ acts like a missile launcher with its opening chords, instantly setting the tone for the rest of the show. ‘A Praise Chorus’ is stunning with the entire venue in unison chanting ‘crimson and clover’ with their fists in the air. The minute Tom Linton steps up to the microphone, it’s clear he’s about to tear into the quintessential angst anthem ‘Blister‘ from 1999’s Clarity, which bursts through the audience with its huge refrain of “how long would it take me to walk across the United States all alone”. Followed closely by ‘Lucky Denver Mint’, ‘For Me This is Heaven’ and ‘Pain’ from the early records and littered with material from the more current albums they create a seamless link over the course of their career, proving they are defiantly ageless on stage.
Jimmy Eat World have been on a hiatus of sorts the last few years, so befitting the occasion Adkins goes on to inform the audience of what each individual member has been up to. He makes a joke about bassist Rick opening the well known fast food restaurant Rick’s Burgers on Dame Street (unmissable when entering the Olympia) which goes down well with the Dublin crowd. He then sincerely reiterates how much they love playing here and how we’re all been through this together for more than 10 years.
Apart from the stealthy addition of their latest single ‘Sure’ and ‘Certain’, the encore is reserved for the holy trinity of teenage anthem ‘The Middle’, the handclap-laden ‘The Authority Song’ and closer, the cascading anthemic ‘woahhhh oh ohs’ of ‘Sweetness’. The gig ends with Jim launching himself into the crowd to high-five the entire front row before – in a hilarious defiance of gravity – needing a boost back up onto the stage to say his final goodbyes and thanks.
One could say the reoccurring theme of the night is nostalgia, but Jimmy Eat World show no signs of slowing down if their frenetic pace on stage is anything to go by. It’s as if no time has passed at all for the band, so perfectly trapped in a vacuum of their own making. And it still works. Loreana Rushe
Photos by Pedro Giaquinto