Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013

Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013
Photo by Youa Vang

Jimmy Eat World with X Ambassador
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, July 8, 2013

"Thank you guys so much, First Avenue. God damn, we love this place," Jimmy Eat World's lead singer Jim Adkins expressed from the stage on Monday night. The men of Jimmy Eat World look like your average guys, but don't let that fool you. These men sure know how to rock. For a band that is known to the general public for their one hit from a decade ago, they also know how to pack a room on a Monday night when people have to go to work the next day.

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Jimmy Eat World: Set goals that you can control

What sets Jimmy Eat World apart from all of these other dudes in bands? For one, they act as one cohesive machine when onstage. With a new album in hand, the band introduced some new pieces and fit in some old ones to keep the crowd excited. When an audience member asked for them to play all of their songs, Adkins replied, "You don't want to hear all of our songs." Maybe we do, Jim.

"Appreciation," the opening track off the new album Damage, was not entirely a deviation from the band's original sound, but also showed the band heading in a new direction. Although written in 2008, "Work" had the feeling of a song steeped in the '90s grunge era, filling the whole room with the nostalgia of being a teenager again. Perhaps that's why Jim said that the evening was "sweatin' to the oldies."

Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013
Photo by Youa Vang

Quickly introducing a song by saying that a U.K. magazine asked them to cover the piece, Adkins dismissed the story until afterward, leading into an unrecognizable-until-the-chorus rendition of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." As if in defense of playing such a popular song, Jim moved into the story of taking his eight-year-old to see Swift, because "Eight-year-olds love that shit. I was amazed by her professionalism. It was different. It was fun."

Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013
Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013
Jimmy Eat World at First Avenue, 7/8/2013
Photos by Youa Vang

The band slowed down the set with the title track off Damage, although this was not intentional -- people just didn't know the new material as well, swiftly leading into the ballad "Hear You Me." "Sweetness" opens with Jim's vocals and had the crowd excited from the first lyric. The song has Adkins and guitarist Tom Linton trading vocals back and forth. The two make for a delicious pop-punk combination with Linton's smooth voice filling in the sound.

"A Praise Chorus" was instantly catchy and instantly recognizable, and made you question the direction of your life. "Bleed American" had the crowd cheering and jumping, not knowing it was the band's last song.

As expected, their encore was a mini-concert with their signature "Chase This Life" and "Big Casino," leading into the perfect closer "The Middle." The reason people connect with Jimmy Eat World so much is that they aptly capture snapshots of a time, most of those snapshots of a transitional time in life when people are trying to find who they are. Perhaps that's why the lyrics "Live right now, just be yourself, it doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else" define a whole generation.

Critic's bias: Like many pop-punk bands of their generation, Jimmy Eat World's music is best experienced live.

The crowd: Twenty-somethings.

Overheard in the crowd: "I think this song is called 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'"

Random notebook dump: Whoa. Openers X Ambassadors are intense, but wonderfully amazing.


I Will Steal You Back
My Best Theory
Your New Aesthetic
We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift cover)
Heart Is Hard to Find
Hear You Me
Coffee and Cigarettes
Let It Happen
Lucky Denver Mint
Goodbye Sky Harbor
A Praise Chorus
Bleed American

Chase This Light
Big Casino
The Middle

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