Where It's At
Jimmy Eat World deserves greater success
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Jimmy Eat World w/ opening act
Tuesday, July 15 - 8 PM
The Showbox (SoDo)

Jimmy Eat World should be bigger than they are now. Granted, they're no small change - the Arizona foursome sold out last fall's concert at The Showbox Market weeks in advance and look to repeat the task at its sister venue this week. They also performed on Letterman and Saturday Night Live, toured with Green Day and Weezer, earned an MTV Video Award nomination, and landed on several year-end critics' lists for their self-titled debut. Additionally, 2002's hit single "The Middle" delivered them from obscurity to the mainstream, racking up multi-platinum sales domestically. But they should be bigger.

My initial taste of Jimmy Eat World was three years ago when my then-roommate played "Get It Faster" on an evening that saw its share of Merlot and takeout Chinese food. I couldn't get the song out of my head for days - its non-apologetic, pro-adultery lyrics wrapped around intense, dramatic guitars perked my interest to see the band live at The Premier (now The Showbox-SoDo). In concert, these guys blew me away. Songs like "Just Tonight" and "Pain," so fast and so tight on disc, were faster and tighter in person. As if I'd closed my eyes and dreamt a perfect rock concert, I left the Jimmy Eat World show with my blood pumping well into the next morning. Not to mention, my neck escaped injury from one of those few occasions in which I actually banged my head.

What I like most about Jimmy Eat World is their straightforward style of rock, never pretentious and never begging for radio airplay or a mass audience. Maybe this is why they haven't stretched to sports arena domination, they value songwriting over hitmaking - and I totally give them props for that. Jim Adkins (lead vocals, guitar), Tom Linton (guitar, vocals), Rick Burch (bass) and Zach Lind (drums) regrouped in their native Arizona to record last year's Chase This Light. The album, the quartet's third full-length recording on a major label, is a different kind of record than its predecessor Futures (SGN's Top 25 Albums/CDs, 2004) - I can't really put my finger on it; they just feel like they're coming at you from two opposite directions. Reverting to my initial statement about the group's success not where I think it should be, Jimmy Eat World is a better-sounding band than half of what's played on MTV or modern rock channels. They should really be up there with Foo Fighters, not opening for them as they did recently.

At The Showbox SoDo on Wednesday night, expect Jimmy Eat World to skip from album to album with a bit more attention to their newest Chase This Light. The four-piece's fans are a mix of hard rockers and alternative music folk, so save room for college dudes and high school cuties. But they do attract a Gay crowd as well, the same non-heteros who follow Bloc Party or Interpol are likely to rock out to "Big Casino" and "Work" alongside the straights. The concert will be heavy on sound and abundant in energy with no theatrics and very little bantering in between songs - these guys usually plow through a nearly two-hour set with barely a word to the audience. And because they've got so many cool songs to unload, I'm fine with less talk. I expect Jimmy Eat World to go onstage no sooner than 9 p.m.

Artist essentials: Watch the video for "Get It Faster" on YouTube and download "Pain" now.