If you’re a ’90s kid, then you’re sure to remember Jimmy Eat World’s major breakthrough album Bleed American. If not, the 2001 album is still a must listen for any fan of rock or alternative music. Containing songs such as the angry ‘Salt Sweat Sugar’, the beautifully mellow ‘Hear You Me’ and the optimistic anthem ‘The Middle’, many believed this to be the peak of their career. However, with their highly-rated ninth studio album Integrity Blues, they returned to the UK ready to reach new heights and capture a new generation of fans.
But first onto the stage were Reading band, The Amazons, bringing with them their special brand of confident rock and roll. With incredibly catchy songs such as ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Stay With Me’ they had most of the crowd nodding their head and dancing in approval. After a sneak preview of new single ‘Little Something’, they finished their set with the energetic ‘In My Mind’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’, leaving the whole crowd in a great mood and ready for Jimmy Eat World.
After a short wait, Jimmy Eat World announced themselves with the thundering guitars of ‘Get Right’, followed by the furious energy of aforementioned, ‘Salt Sweat Sugar’. It seemed that the 15 years since the release of the song hadn’t sapped any of their energy or enthusiasm, as frontman Jim (Jimmy!) Adkins was on full form, belting out the vocals while effortlessly gliding through the guitar riffs. This opening intensity was contrasted by the smooth, melodic vocals of ‘You With Me’, truly showing the range of talents that the band possess. It would be easy just to fill the setlist with old favourites, but the setlist is also full of new material from Integrity Blues in between the nods to the past, and if possible the crowd are even more receptive to these, swaying along to the beautiful melodies of ‘Through’ in particular. However, the throwbacks in the form of songs such as ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’, ‘If You Don’t, Don’t’ and ‘No Sensitivity’ are greatly appreciated too, with the crowd dancing like it was 2001 all over again. As the final notes of ‘Pain’ rang out, the band waved and left the stage leaving the crowd in suspense. However, it wouldn’t be a Jimmy Eat World show without them playing ‘The Middle‘, and as they returned for their encore performance, they started playing the anthemic classic to the loudest cheer of the night. This was followed up by Integrity Blues’ lead single ‘Sure and Certain’, and finally the wonderfully catchy ‘Sweetness’. As the band left the stage, the crowd cheered madly, starstruck by the wonderful performance, proving that the band still retain all the youthful energy of their earlier years, while adding a more mature edge gained in recent years. They truly have reached new heights on this tour, and I’m sure everyone at the show tonight will be eagerly waiting for their return to the UK.