Jimmy Eat World's Timeless Emo Inspires Flashbacks of Lost Youth at the Warfield

Categories: Last Night
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Richard Haick
Jimmy Eat World 
September 30, 2010 
@ The Warfield 

Better than: all those dudes in eyeliner that people think are emo now. 

In an attic in Arizona somewhere, there are four hideously deformed paintings, getting old, Dorian Gray style, because the members of Jimmy Eat World do not age. They've looked exactly the same for approximately ten years now, and their music is equally as timeless. 

The crowd packing out The Warfield tonight, however, has clearly grown up with these man-boys. All around the venue, dudes in their thirties are reliving their youth, jumping up and down and singing along like they're 19 years old again; and when old J.E.W. favorites are aired, they melt like butter in the noonday sun.

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Richard Haick
With good reason. Jimmy Eat World might not be one of the most thrilling bands visually, but sonically, it is flawless -- expert at throwing crisp guitar lines, sweeping melodies and rousing choruses at us and sitting back to watch the carnage that follows like it ain't no thang. 

The thing with this Mesa outfit is that, seven albums in, every set has the potential to be a greatest hits collection -- a greatest hits collection with not a dud in sight. And the show tonight starts that way; "Bleed American" providing a perfect opener, closely followed by "For Me This Is Heaven" rubbing up against "Futures." 

Richard Haick
The mid-section is dedicated to airing new tracks from Invented, released just a couple of days ago. The new material is exactly what you want it to be: a clear progression, but with all of the massive anthems and sensitivity-laden moments we've come to expect from this quartet. 

But as lovely as the likes of "Movielike" and "Coffee And Cigarettes" are, it's the old stuff that, predictably, provides the real crowd-pleasers. "Hear You Me" is breathtakingly gorgeous, "Work" provokes a massive singalong, "Blister" is transformed into a total tear-jerker and "Goodbye Sky Harbor" is effortlessly stunning. And that's before we even get to the sweeping, enormous rendition of "23," hyperactively received "Pain" and the ridiculously joyful "The Sweetness," complete with people jumping out of their seats on the balcony to pump their fists and scream along, plaid shirts a-flapping. 

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Richard Haick
While this understated band's appeal is baffling to the uninitiated, for those of us here tonight, Jimmy Eat World prove once and for all that they are one of the most reliable, touching and technically flawless bands currently residing on our shores. These man-boys may not make a big fuss and bother about their live show, but that doesn't make it any less moving. And in a year's time, those new songs will be received just as warmly as the classics. 

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Richard Haick
Critic's Notebook
 
Overheard [from a bartender]: "I'm just waiting for Chelsea Handler to come out. Is this the VMA's or something? It's all big and weird. Where's The Situation at?" 

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Richard Haick
Overheard Part 2: "If they play one new song, I'm gonna storm the stage and hit that guy."

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