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Jimmy Eat World's Crescent show was sold out so we couldn't take any pictures. We used this photo instead.EXPAND
Jimmy Eat World's Crescent show was sold out so we couldn't take any pictures. We used this photo instead.
Jimi Giannatti

Jimmy Eat World Proved They Still Own Phoenix Music Scene

Jimmy Eat World proved their prowess yet again at Sunday night's sold-out show at Crescent Ballroom, which showcased their perfect blend of emo, punk, and pop.

They made the audience swoon, rage, and dance throughout the performance. A quarter-century into their career and over the course of 10 albums, with Surviving coming later this month, they still know how to put on a perfect show regardless of where they are. From playing arenas and pavilions across America to Phoenix’s premier small venues, Jimmy Eat World keep proving they aren’t merely survivors of the local scene.

They own it.

The night was filled with some of their best hits across their career. They didn’t shy away from tracks off of Bleed American, the album that launched them into the hearts of emo teens that grew up with their music. Scanning the crowd, there was proof that Jim Adkins and crew represent us all in the Valley, from the ultra-hip baristas from the coffee shops you haven’t heard of, to those who go clubbing in Old Town Scottsdale, and the dads who wear polos tucked into plaid shirts.

Each of the band's singles means something different to everyone that listens to them. The band knows it, too. They didn’t waste time chatting. Instead, Adkins, guitarist Tim Linton, bass player Rick Burch, and drummer Zach Lind packed a 45-minute set with 20 songs.

Of the seven new songs the band played, it wasn’t either of the released singles that stood out. “Love Never” and “All the Way (Stay)” are radio-friendly, but “555” and “Criminal Energy” might be the best from the album.

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“555” came right after Linton sang “Blister” from Clarity. It felt like a deep cut off of that album. It was atmospheric, emotional, and soaring. The song felt like the best of an early Jimmy Eat World song with the ear of 2019 production added to it.

“Criminal Energy” is heavier than either single they released thus far. The repetitive power chords let the band lean into the punk side they haven't let loose in quite a long time.

The other songs they premiered fit into their repertoire just fine. They kicked off the set with “Surviving,” which also is their album opener. Then there was “Delivery.” It’s a song that leans into their emo sensibility as opposed to their pop-punk side. The band has found a way to keep their career going strong with fresh new songs that both trigger nostalgia but never seem stale.

Will Surviving be their best album? No, that’s Clarity. Will this album be their most mainstream success? That will most likely always be Bleed American. Will this album prove Jimmy Eat World are still one of the best at what they do? You better believe it.

Critic’s Notebook

Last Night: Jimmy Eat World’s “surprise” hometown show to kick off their 10th album Surviving

The Crowd: Anyone who happened to be on Facebook in the first 15 minutes the band announced the show, from parents and their kids to beer-guzzling millennials who are definitely calling off work

Overheard: “We’ll be on Jimmy Kimmel Thursday. Is it Thursday? Maybe Thursday.” – Jim Adkins at the end of their set caught up in the moment but always a professional promoting their next gig.

Random Notebook Dump: During “All the Way (Stay)”: “They brought out a fucking sax!”

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