Sunday, August 4, 2013
State Theatre, Portland, Maine
I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to Portland for this show, but when my best friend called and said she needed me to pick her up at the bus station at midnight, I figured I’d make it happen. I’m really glad I did! Jimmy Eat World puts on a great show. I was happy to see what 20 years of being a band can do for a group’s stage presence and for the crowd’s engagement with the music. It was a good night.
I picked up my press pass and ticket from the ticket booth at The State Theatre (thanks, Chris and Big Hassle Media!) and ran into Zachary immediately. He graduated from Mt. Ararat in 2012. I was his class advisor for four years and am still close with a lot of people from his class. He took me down to the sixth row center where he, Nathan, Evan, Alden, and Nick were listening to the opening band, Royal Bangs. It was great to see all of them. Zachary, Nathan, Evan, and I went on an amazing senior trip to Eastern Europe in 2012, and talked about how much we’d all like to go back. If you’ve never been to Prague or Budapest, put it on your life list.
I liked Knoxville, Tennessee’s Royal Bangs. Their alt rock sound was polished, and I liked the predominance of keys in their music. They didn’t say a whole lot to the crowd, but were friendly and brought good energy. The drummer’s facial expressions were particularly fun to watch. Check out their videos for “Better Run” and “Fireball.”
I got a chance to talk with some of the people standing around me during the break between sets. I met a trio of nice guys who’d come up for the show from Connecticut, including Nick from New Hampshire who was busy befriending all of the ladies around us (well done, Nick!). I shouldn’t have thought to myself—“what nice people I’m surrounded by!”—because I totally jinxed it. Later in the night a couple with little body awareness or self control stumbled upon our neck of the woods and invaded our personal space and kept hitting us and my fancy camera. I can usually fix that kind of behavior with a little firm negotiation, but they were truly defiant and obnoxious. They even saw me on the way out and gave me a hard time about me trying to get them to lay off earlier. Ugh. Concert etiquette tip—don’t be an @ss&ole. Keep your hands to yourself. It’s something most of us got in Kindergarten.
Mesa, Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World took the stage promptly at 9 and I made my way to the front (in front of the barricade) to take pictures for the first three songs. The crowd against the barricade was super into the music and sang all the words. Jimmy Eat World sounded tight. They haven’t lost anything by not having toured much in the last few years. A fellow concert goer posted Jimmy Eat World’s set list on setlist.fm:
Zachary and I were so happy to hear “Hear You Me” early in their set. It’s definitely one of my favorite songs of all time—from Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 Bleed American album. Lead singer Jim Adkins told us that not only have they just released a new album, Damage, but also have a new EP out as well. He said the creative juices have really been flowing and they have been keeping very busy. Their iTunes Session is available here on iTunes and includes a cover of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” that they played for us live as well. I was amused because we all knew the words to that song, too. It’s a guilty pleasure. I use that song to explain the breakup between the American colonists and the UK in the Declaration of Independence to my 9th graders. It makes perfect sense, right?!
I thoroughly felt my age when a legit mosh pit broke out in front of me during “A Praise Chorus.” I took my fancy camera, glasses, and nice teeth back a couple of sections to join the old people and preserve myself. Crowd surfing commenced soon afterward. Am I getting old, or have I just become more accustomed to folk shows?
Jim didn’t banter a ton with the crowd throughout the show, but our familiarity with the songs really bonded the audience and made for a special night. When Jimmy Eat World left the stage, the crowd really rallied for an encore. I was elated to hear “23” (which I’ve loved since before I was 23) live. It’s another one of my favorite songs. “Big Casino” sounded great and amped the audience. Jim took a moment to tell us that they don’t take it lightly and really appreciate us coming out to support the band. He said it’s a huge compliment that we find parts of their songs to make our own. They wrapped the night with “The Middle,” which is probably their best-known song. The State Theatre was already hot and sweaty, but this song turned it into a sauna. Everyone danced. It was a great end to a great night. Jim even came over the barricade to give high fives to the very enthusiastic crowd (including a very happy Zachary—see the photo).
So glad I made it out to this show.