Christmas came early for the couple hundred die-hard Jimmy Eat World fans who came out to catch the Mesa rock band Wednesday at the intimate Modified Arts for a mere $5 cover. The lucky Jimmy fans in attendance - at one of Modified's last hurrah's before they switch owners and transform into an art gallery - can credit the Internet with tipping them off about this not-so-secret show.
Word spread like wildfire over social networking Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace along with several local blogs with rumors of a JEW show Wednesday morning. The band, who hasn't performed locally since earlier in the year, helped fuel the rumor with a mysterious tweet: "Stay tuned today for a surprise announcement. If you live in Phoenix and have plans for tonight, cancel them."
The band later confirmed the rumor via Twitter announcing they were indeed performing at Modified and that space was very limited. They weren't lying. Space was limited at the show, which featured brief acoustic performances from Reubens Accomplice, Source Victoria and El Oso Negro. A line started forming as early as 3 p.m. Hundreds of fans were turned away due to the venue's small capacity. Reubens Accomplice vocalist Jeff Bufano described it best to the lucky ones who made it inside declaring "I feel like you guys all got a golden ticket. Welcome to the Chocolate Factory."
After a kick-ass set from Reubens Accomplice, JEW took the stage a few minutes before 10 p.m. and dived into a rockin' short, but sweet performance, which they kicked off with "Bleed American."
"Thank you so much for coming down on short notice," frontman Jim Adkins told the crowd. "We are a professional rock band from Mesa, Arizona."
The nearly hour-long set included a discography of songs spanning over 10 years. The track list? "Bleed American," "Your House," "Work," "Crush," "Futures," "Blister," "Big Casino," "Goodbye Sky Harbor," "Pain" and "Sweetness" had audience members dancing and the majority, me included, singing along word-for-word to every song. The band even found time to experiment, briefly covering Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People."
Sadly, there wasn't an encore after the group closed the night with the bouncy "Sweetness" even though the crowd chanted for what seemed like ages. However, there was a last apperance by Adkins who returned on stage to thank everyone for attending the show and encouraged the crowd to continue supporting Modified.
Last Night: Jimmy Eat World at Modified Arts
Better Than: Paying $30 and seeing Jimmy Eat World in an arena-sized venue or traveling to Atlantic City to see them perform in a casino on Dec. 31.
Personal Bias: I'm a huge Jimmy Eat World fan. Huge. I've seen them in Tucson, New Jersey and Las Vegas and have followed them since they used to gig at old school clubs like Boston's and The Green Room. I put them on a music pedestal.
Random Fact: The Jimmy Eat World song "If You Don't, Don't" references my favorite Tempe watering hole Casey Moore's with the lyric: 'Ninth and Ash on a Tuesday Night.'
Further Listening: Their last album was 2007's Chase This Light, but I highly recommend 1999's Clarity or 2001's Bleed American.
By The Way: There was an Internet rumor that The Format was also on the bill, which seemed unlikely given that Nate Ruess, one half of the former local pop-rock sensation, up-and-moved to New York and now fronts Fun. This was merely a rumor. Sam Means, the quieter half of The Format, was one of several local musicians in attendance though.
One More Thing: I ran into Jim Adkins last month at The Revival Tour at Chaser's. He mentioned the band is currently working on their follow-up to Chase This Light and hope to release it later next year so stay tuned.