It would be all too easy to expect the return of Jimmy Eat World to be met with a half-hearted shrug. The band are gearing up to release their ninth album of a career that, at its very worst, has been steady. They’re a band that’s pretty much always been there and for most, that’s a death sentence. Excitement? Yeah right. Give us drama. Give us danger.
But, as it’s been said before, Jimmy Eat World are special. Always being there? That’s their thing and people adore them for it. Tonight, at London’s Islington Assembly Hall, the band return from the wilderness (via a show the night before in west London) and every moment shines.
Showing off their impressive catalogue of hits, the band are electric. They sound excited and every stop along their twenty-odd year journey is dynamic. The likes of ‘Blister’, ‘Lucky Denver Mint’ and ‘The Middle’ are the very definition of classics but they’re still punching people in the heart with a ferocious love that is ever-present. Confident in everything they do (imagine playing the gut-wrenching peak of ‘Hear You Me’ fifth) Jimmy Eat World are as fresh and vital as ever.
A trio of new tracks are aired, standing shoulder to shoulder with giants and earning their place. ‘Get It Right’ bubbles with intensity and assurance, ‘Sure and Certain’ dances in the light, smouldering and skipping while ‘You Are Free’ is direct, encouraging yet confrontational. There’s more than a spark of brilliance about each one.
“Ageing isn’t a choice,” explains Jim Adkins after realising that ‘Chase This Light’ is now ten years old. “Acting crotchety is, ageing isn’t,” but Jimmy Eat World are far from their sunset years. There’s nothing graceful about the way this band are approaching album nine. Instead, it’s furious, urgent and soaked in sweat. This is the return of Jimmy Eat World and it’s met with nothing but full-bodied enthusiasm.