LIVE: Jimmy Eat World @ PRYZM, Kingston Upon Thames

By Yasmin Brown

There’s little more thrilling than an album release show; the crowd bubbles with the anticipation of getting to hear new songs live for the very first time, and the venues are usually far more intimate than we’re used to – particularly for bands that have been around for as long as some of us have been alive.

This is exactly the situation for Jimmy Eat World’s show at Pryzm. Located a little outside of central London, it already has the comforting, homely feel of a more suburban show, but with a capacity of just 2,000, no support act, and one-day-old songs, this is really something special.

Come 8pm, the small venue is bursting at the seams as the packed out crowd becomes jittery with impatience; Jimmy Eat World are two minutes late, and we’re already acutely aware of tonight’s 9pm curfew. Every minute and every second counts here, with the band’s back catalogue stemming back 26 years, there’s only so much greatness you can fit into an hour and with Jimmy Eat World changing their setlist almost every night on tour (a surefire sign of a talented band – never constrained by a need for rehearsal time), we’re both apprehensive and excited to see what’s coming our way.

By the very nature of this release show, however, we’re most eager to learn which tracks off the day-old ‘Surviving’ are going to make the cut, and our question is partially answered from the offset, as four minutes late, Jimmy open with the title track itself. The crowd wastes no time throwing themselves into the perfectly executed music, greeting this new material like an old friend and showing just as much enthusiasm for songs they barely know as they do for longtime favourites that appear on the setlist such as ‘Get It Faster’ (a well-received rarity) and ‘Big Casino’. 

As the night progresses, the crowd gets ever more involved in dirty riffs, familiar beats and faultless vocals, losing any remaining reservations as arms flail determinedly in the air, voices become increasingly more hoarse and – quite unexpectedly – crowd surfers emerge from the intense pit. Despite the impossibility of having heard many of these songs more than a few times over the past 36 or so hours, somehow the chorus of ‘555’ emerges almost as loudly from the crowd as it does from the stage – a clear sign that despite being slightly out of place in the band’s discography, this synth-driven track has quickly become a fan favourite.

Tears are, as always, shed during the ever-beautiful ‘Hear You Me’ as we recall lives lost, but our cheeks quickly dry as we throw ourselves completely into 2016’s ‘Sure and Certain’ and from here on out, our mood can only soar as the band makes its way faultlessly through the rest of the set. There’s little time for chatter, but frontman Jim Adkins knows exactly how to work a crowd with few words, launching into the final three tracks with a single question: “Is everybody ready to rock?”

The answer is, naturally, yes, and the night ends with the band’s most iconic trio: ‘A Praise Chorus’, ‘Sweetness’, and – of course – ‘The Middle’. It’s these three songs that incite the biggest reaction, ending the night on the limitless high it deserves but still leaving us wanting so much more. It’s just 15 songs, and it’s over far too quickly, but this is arguably one of the best nights this club has ever seen.