2016 saw the return of rock band Jimmy Eat World to the Belfast Limelight stage, having last played there in 2013 in support of the album Damage. This time around the band were promoting their 9th album “Integrity Blues”, with support from English band The Amazons, whose heavy rock really served as a great warm up act for the headline.
Jimmy Eat World have never really been a band I’ve been into, aside from the big hits I haven’t ever really followed their music though was excited to see what they would be like live and if they could convert me enough to really delve into their albums. The band came on with I have to say a very weird opener, backtracked acoustic guitar strums and grouped vocals played as the band took the stage, leading into the opener You With Me taken from the new album. I was expecting Jimmy Eat World to come out with a real explosive start, and although this approach was different, it wasn’t all that impactful. The next track however was a different story. The opening riff of Big Casino was met with great cheers from the crowd, and which kicked off the remainder of a high energy 20 song set.
The band were so tight live, playing an eclectic mix of tracks from their previous 8 albums, like the classic Bleed American, as well as plenty of material from the latest album. A personal highlight of mine was the track Pass The Baby which slowly and slowly builds until it reaches this great almost metallic riff based section, it sounded so huge live and it was great to see the band giving so much energy into new songs, showing that after 20 years playing music, Jimmy Eat World have not run out of steam. Overall I found myself enjoying the high energy tracks much more than the laid back moments in the set. Tracks like Get Right and the powerful 23. There were a few tracks that made me switch off a bit. Tracks like the opener You With Me and You Are Free. The band closed their set with Pain a track of 2004’s Futures and then the band disappeared off the stage, graciously thanking the audience for coming.
Of course, everyone knew in fact the night was not over. So much so, there was actually very little cheer for an encore, with a few sporadic few shouting “one more tune” every so often. After a few minutes the band returned, launching straight into The Middle. Every twenty something and older in the room went nuts, hearing that classic tune fill the room. A few Die-hard Jimmy Eat World fans would be hard-pressed to appreciate “The Middle”, equating to the bands version of Radiohead’s “Creep” but to say hearing that tune live wasn’t great, you’d just be a liar.
The band closed the encore with Sure & Certain and Sweetness ending their hour and 45 minute set. Overall, I thought Jimmy Eat World were enjoyable, I wasn’t converted to love the band’s music but I can certainly appreciate their talent and enjoy seeing a band still having so much fun after so long.