Jimmy Eat World are an American band that, despite various top 40 hits and high-profile film scores, are still disappointingly underrated. This month the band kicked off the European segment of their tour right here in the UK, with an amazing performance at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth. Their lyrics and the particularly well rounded talents of front-man Jim Adkins give this band the potential to sell out arenas – but sadly, their Bournemouth show didn’t appear to be a sold-out night.
The band opened with the catchy ‘I Will Steal You Back’ from their latest album, Damage. The title song also appeared in their set, which went down well with the crowd. This was unsurprising as the atmosphere showed that all those in attendance were loyal fans (with a career spanning over two decades, Jimmy Eat World are sure to have a few of them). This showed: the opening of every track was greeted with a cheer of recognition.
However, I’d like to insert here my general disappointment with the rest of the band, and my near idolisation of lead singer and lead guitarist Jim Adkins. I’m a firm believer that bands are a collaborative effort. Yes, the frontman must be talented in order for the band to succeed, but the ability and showmanship of the other musicians should not be lacking or hinder the performance. Although the drummer made a lot of mistakes, I have to say that I barely noticed the other people on stage at all. To be frank, they were less than enthusiastic and a bit dull. However, Jim Adkins was putting everything into his performance, vocally and physically. He was sweating by the fifth track.
Jimmy Eat World would not have gained any of the low-key international success that they have today without the on-stage enthusiasm, and multitude of talents, of Jim Adkins. His acoustic piece ‘Hear You Me’, was one of the most incredible displays of instrumental ability and powerfully emotive performances that I have ever seen. I lost someone close to me a few years ago, and ever since then I have found the lyrics to ‘Hear You Me’ a little difficult to hear. Make fun of me if you will, but when Jim Adkins took to the stage to sing this track, with the spotlight, the acoustic guitar, the passion in his playing and in his voice – I started to well up. I might be a bit of a girl but, if music can install such strong emotions, it deserves to be celebrated.
The crowd were swaying, arms in the air, singing along with him for ‘Hear You Me’, but then the ambience of this track was immediately juxtaposed to the heavier tone of ‘Futures’. The audience roared into erratic motion once again, jumping up and down, the band effortlessly shifting their mood from track to track.
Overall it was an unforgettable and highly emotive experience and the crowd certainly seemed appreciative. It wasn’t exactly jam-packed but the atmosphere certainly didn’t suffer, the venue lends itself to more intimate performances anyway. The band really does have some incredible tracks, with genuinely meaningful lyrics and brilliant vocal talent in Jim Adkins, and I would absolutely encourage you to see them live – if only for the incredible Jimmy.