Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Four guys on a stage rocking like it's 1997

Jimmy Eat World has always been a no nonsense rock band. Despite signing to a major label very early in their existence and taking the mandatory grief from the punk rock constituency of their usual touring partners (The Promise Ring, Mineral, etc.), they somehow managed to live through two commercial "failures" before hitting it big with Bleed American's "The Middle." And though recent releases may have some softened edges, it's still the straightforward sing-along rock songs that keep the crowds coming and ultimately make Jimmy Eat World something special to watch.

They opened the sold out Riviera show with the one two three punch of "Big Casino," "A Praise Chorus," and Clarity's "Crush." Quite possibly enough to send your average indie kid into cardiac arrest. Playing on a mostly bare stage with a modest backdrop bearing a bird symbol, they barreled through the set with a hefty dose of raw emotion all on the shoulders of singer/guitarist Jim Adkins. Although the other members were spot on and technically accurate (especially man/machine Zack Lind on drums), Adkins took on the sole responsibility of reminding everyone that playing shows is still fun. "For Me This is Heaven" brought a frilly prom-like backdrop and disco ball, drawing a wave of oohs and aahs but for the most part it was just four old friends onstage rocking out.

The one misstep came during their encore when they unveiled an acoustic driven "Your House" with a changed key, a changed melody, and even added lyrics. The audience tried to sing along but to no avail. This was an unfortunate update that the band were sticking to! As quickly as they lost the crowd, they got em back with what brought 'em in the first place: "Sweetness" and "The Middle." It was a loud raucous affair sprinkled with a few slow interludes proving that Jimmy Eat World can still captivate and energize a crowd with no-frills rock and pop.-B. Nanna