LIVE: Jimmy Eat World @ London KOKO, 16/06/13

By Ben Tipple

Ending their unusual week long UK stint which took in a performance at the world famous Maida Vale studios, a trip to the offices of a well-known indie magazine and a second stage slot at the rock god of festivals, Download, Jimmy Eat World are set to take on London’s stunning KOKO this Sunday evening.

In part compensation for those unfortunate enough to miss the concurrent festival, tonight also allows the Arizona veterans to break away from their inevitable greatest hits set from the day before. Although the hits are present and correct tonight at the KOKO, the appearance of newer material and the unexpected abundance of tracks from Futures sees Jimmy Eat World fully embracing their entire back catalogue.

Opening with the lead single from their new album, ‘I Will Steal You Back’ is as brave a choice as it is predictable. Jimmy Eat World have faced consistent criticism over their musical direction in recent years – most fans united in the belief that nothing will ever come close to Bleed American, Clarity or to some extent Futures. If anything the response to the track suggests the end of this mind-set. Its upbeat tempo and infectious melody is enough to instantly draw in the audience.

The other new tracks on display tonight – ‘Damage’, ‘Book of Love’, ‘Appreciation’ and ‘Please Say No’ – help to cement Jimmy Eat World’s new found relevance, sitting comfortably amongst the likes of ‘Kill’ and ‘A Praise Chorus’.

Surprisingly time seems to have worked wonders on tracks from Chase This Light too. It may be down to the fact that they haven’t been heard in some time, or a simple comparison with the disappointing Invented, but ‘Let It Happen’, ‘Big Casino’ and the album’s title track are bursting with reinvigorated energy in this live setting.

There is the odd misstep in delivery – ‘Heart Is Hard to Find’ sticks out like a sore thumb between two of the new tracks, and the encore lacks any of the heavy hitters (although die-hard fans are bound to be blown away by set closer ‘Goodbye Sky Harbour’). Still, the setlist is clearly built to please.

The excellently delivered and truly anthemic ‘Blister’ moves swiftly into rock-club favourite ‘Pain’, leaving little time for anyone to catch their breath. Similarly ‘Sweetness’ explodes through the venue, before pushing energy levels to fever pitch with ‘Bleed American’.

What Jimmy Eat World have accomplished is to pack their biggest hits together for full impact without the rest of the set missing out. Switching across albums throughout and throwing in a little surprise here and there keeps the performance alive, despite frontman Adkin’s characteristic reluctance to engage with the crowd.

Musically, the band are perfect. The criticisms thrown at Jimmy Eat World rarely mention their ability to play, and it’s easy to see why. Without any theatrics or on-stage antics, the band make the lively songs punchier and the mellow moments more gentle without any obvious effort.

Jimmy Eat World have pulled out all the stops tonight. It’s one hell of a way to spend a Sunday evening.