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Review: Jimmy Eat World in Columbus (+ photos)

This is hard for me to admit, but I think I’ve outgrown Jimmy Eat World. The guys still make great music but the last two albums haven’t been the start-to-finish stunners that their earlier work was. I’m not sure where they got lost along the way. Maybe it was the mainstream success of “The Middle” that demonstrated to the guys that they could write a decent pop-rock song that both emo kids and sorority girls would find appealing. That’s not to say the last two CDs (2007’s Chase This Light, 2010’s Invented) don’t contain some good, “greatest hits”-type material, but the midtempo, “belong in movie trailers” songs lack the punch of earlier tracks like “Sweetness” and “Thinking, That’s All”.

Jimmy Eat World returned to Columbus this past Saturday nigh for the first time in nearly 6 years (if I’m not mistaken) for a sold-out show at the Newport with We Were Promised Jetpacks. I still find it hard to believe – and, believe me, I’ll tell anybody that’ll listen – that I saw Jimmy Eat World play Bernie’s sometime in either 1994 or 1995 on the Static Prevails tour. That wasn’t a great show, Jim Adkins kept breaking guitar strings and eventually just gave up on changing strings and retuning causing the band to cut their set short. But, for the dozen of us in attendance, it was the first, promising glimpse at this Arizona four piece that was just a few years away from bringing emo rock to the mainstream.
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Would you be more likely to go see a band if …

Smashing Pumpkins

… you knew the setlist in advance?

All the Smashing Pumpkins reviews recently have gotten me thinking … people seem to be pissed that their set consists primarily of stuff from the most recent album (call it the Pumpkins Chinese Democracy if you want since it’s basically a Corgan solo album). If the fans knew in advance that the set would be 80% new material with just 3 or 4 “greatest hits” tossed in, would all the shows be selling out? People wouldn’t have the right to complain after the show if they knew the setlist in advance. Of course, that would also remove some element of surprise.

Jimmy Eat World announced a 10-date tour in February in which they’ll be playing (in my opinion) their best album, Clarity, start to finish to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of it’s release. I own all their stuff but found the most recent album to be disappointing. If I’m going to go see them, I’d like to hear older stuff. If the Clarity-revisited tour was hitting anywhere in Ohio, I’d go without hesitation.

The Toadies came through town recently. I am not terribly familiar with their older stuff but the stuff I’ve heard didn’t totally blow me away the way the new stuff does. I was really bummed I had to miss their show but I heard that they only did 2 or 3 new songs so I’m sure I would have been upset had I been able to make it.

Last example … I love Superchunk’s Foolish. Love it – think it’s one of the best albums of the mid-80s alt/indie rock world. I don’t really know the rest of their stuff all that well though I do own maybe 2 or 3 other CDs. I saw them do a reunion show at SXSW a few years back and really only recognized one songs from ‘Foolish’ and felt a bit disappointed that I had spent an hour watching them just to hear one song when I could have probably seen a dozen other bands during that same time slot that would have left me feeling more satisfied.

So, I ask, would knowing the setlist in advance of bands that play venues like the Newport or bigger (because I imagine bands doing tours in venues like this have pre-determined setlists rather than making stuff up on the spot or tossing something in should it strike their fancy if they are playing at Ravari Room or The Summit) help you make a decision on whether or not you’d go see a band? And, if your favorite band was playing a set of all new stuff when you only really wanted to see their old stuff, would you skip the show?

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(Photo by Domino Mask)