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Jimmy Eat World – Forum, London

A still-in-mourning E-Streeter puts down the Born To Run sleeve and heads off to catch the US rockers.

In his perfectly innocent ‘what kind of music is it?’ question, the Italian restaurant owner in Kentish Town asked a difficult one about Jimmy Eat World – or, as I described them to him  “Giacomo Mange il Mondo’. The boys from Arizona have been described as emo, indie and heavy rock but if you listen to ‘Clarity’ or their self-titled album (otherwise known as ‘Bleed American’) you’ll get lively guitar based rock, strong songs with good melodies interspersed with by decent ballads and backlit by pitch perfect three part harmonies. Surfing the vogue for reprising albums in their entirety, Jimmy rattle through 2 of their 3 best records from start to finish to a sweaty, youngish Forum who, for a London crowd, are refreshingly free of brain dead, lagered up pondlife.

Starting bang on half 8, Jimmy open proceedings via the soft melody and harmony with ‘Table for Glasses’, before getting the crowd jumping with a surprisingly thunderous ‘Lucky Denver Mint’. Visiting Philadelphia in March and being shown the US Mint there, I realised this title refers to an actual coin production facility in Denver and not some random piece of American confectionery. Doh. The song is classic Jimmy; rollicking guitars, machine gun bass and drumming against soft melodious signing from Jim Adkins and a rousing singalong chorus. Google the album if you want the order of the songs, but the plaintive ‘On A Sunday’ and a ten minute version of ‘Goodbye Sky Harbour’ were outstanding.

‘Clarity’ is a very good but not in my view great album – heresy I know amongst snivelling indie types but my honest opinion all the same. The sublime Bleed American, on the other hand, remains is the only record I’ve ever bought because I heard it played over the PA in a record shop and loved it on the spot. If you don’t own this record, you should. Really, go and buy it. A brief interval after Clarity is cut short by the crowd’s insistence on a return, and the ripping away of the white silk backdrop signals a move up the gears with a chopping guitar sound that would do justice to Metallica and the crowd in full mosh mode as the set resumes.

The first three songs – ‘Salt Sweat Sugar’, ‘A Praise Chorus’ and ‘The Middle’ – are one of the strongest openings to any record, and it is a joy to see the entire crowd lap it all up. The rest of this fantastic record is played in order, the crowd sings along, the band clearly loved it, the punters certainly did. As I bolted to catch the last train home, I found it hard to believe that Bleed American (a title pulled because the release was just after 9/11) was a decade old. Jimmy Eat World’s last 2 albums have, sadly, left me cold but the late 90s and early noughties records (or the excellent ‘Futures’) are still worth getting hold of.


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