There are two ways to enjoy a gig, in my opinion. One way is to see a band that you love, where you know all the songs back to front (including rareties only available on Japanese imports). The other is to go to a gig blind, check out the music and hope that you come out of it a new fan of the band. I saw Jimmy Eat World last night, and my experience was somewhat of the latter.

I know of them as an emo band that had the video with the semi-naked sweaty chicks partying in a house (The Middle, the song which was covered by my mate, Huzaimi, at the Newcastle Gig in 2002). Jimbo then gave me their current (fourth) effort, Futures, as a birthday present, which was put in the backburner as i preferred their Bleed American stuff (my only other JEW CD). It wasn’t until last month, that i took the time to check Futures out only to find that it is a superb album. So, when i found out that they were coming to Sheffield, i grabbed three tix as soon as i could. No regrets, whatsoever!

The night kicked off with Apartment, a band from London. They were pretty good. They would pretty much belong to the current 80’s-ish dance/rock genre a la Franz Ferdinand. In a nutshell, I would describe them as a band that has the musical sensibilities of U2 and Simple Minds and a frontman that has the vocal swagger of Morrissey. NME described their sound akin to the likes of Joy Division and New Order. Sama lah tu. The first thing that struck me, however, was that the bassist played the same Fender Jazz like i do, tortoiseshell pickguard and rosewood neck and all. Minor point. Hehe. Pity that the guitar amp had some problems and they had to cut short their set. They coped well with that handicap in their final song of their set.

Jimbo told me that JEW was gonna have their cabs faced towards the back of the stage. I have no idea what that’ll do. The amps were miked up anyway, and it wouldn’t really matter if they had the amps stowed away on the equipment truck. It looked cool anyway.

Jim Adkins came out solo singing For Me This Is Heaven. Nice slow tempo to get the evening going.

Jim had a Goldtop (for the rest of the evening, he played his customary black LP Studio) while Tom Linton had a LP Standard. Backline-wise, Jim had a Marshall half-stack whilst Tom played his SG through an Orange head and an unknown 4×12. Rick Burch was on stage right providing the bottom end with the occasional backing vocals. Zach Lind had a drumming stance that looked so Neil Peart to me. The next song proved to be somewhat interesting.

They played Bleed American, my favourite JEW track ever.

I knew they were gonna play that when i saw the roadie brought out Tom’s cherry SG. The thing is, I have not been in a mosh pit for quite some time. Every time i go to a gig with friends, I would be assigned the wallet/drumstick/glasses holder whilst they would go slamdancing/bodysurfing. We were slap bang in the middle of the crowd last night and with the opening dropped D chords, we were sucked into the mosh vortex. It was nuts.

It felt great anyway, despite me clutching on to my digicam, wallet, cellphone and souvenir tee, let alone to dear life. And all i knew was “… salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt”. The rest of the chorus (let alone the song) was just nananana.

They played quite a few songs from Clarity (i only got the Limewire copy. Hehe.). When they played the opening chords to If You Don’t, Don’t, the girls next to me were screaming their heads off. Backstreet Boys? Where? They also played Blister, Lucky Denver Mint and No Sensitivity.

Jim jokingly asked if the crowd was still into Def Leppard. I was half-expecting the band to play a Leppard cover which, thankfully, they didn’t. They also apologised for the cancellation of their performance at the upcoming Leeds Festival in August as they will be opening for Green Day on their USA tour. Sod festivals. Nothing beats watching a band in a small venue like the Octagon, man.

The only Static Prevails song that i could remember they played was Seventeen. The thing with JEW, as eloquently explained to me by jimbo the emo-meister, was a typical quiet-loud-quiet component in the song dynamics, with an easy nananana sing-along chorus. Formulaic as it sounds, it bloody works. Even i could easily join in on the o-oh o-oh o-o-ooh‘s on listening to the chorus in Work.

The Middle was another Bleed American favourite that they played… err… in the middle of their main set. The simple solo pull-offs were just the bomb. Futures was another great jumping and anthemic tune (by then, i could only afford to do the alternative shuffle – see Audioslave gig review, –Ed.). 23 brought the crowd back to calm mode.

They came back with two songs for the encore. Pain from Futures was just a crowd rouser. The buildup during the verse followed by the pogo-tastic chorus – takes my pain away!

Like the gig that Jimbo and Ash went to, Sweetness was played as the finale. This is JEW at its finest.

I came out of the gig with a couple of things in my mind. One: gendut is alright! Black short-sleeved collar shirt and a Gibbo LP. Suara aje tadak. Hahaha. The other: my LP standard has been dusted and i’ve learnt Bleed American and The Middle note-for-note. Sapa mau jam?

Sheffield Octagon 23.6.05 set: For Me This Is Heaven / Bleed American / Lucky Denver Mint / Work / The World You Love / If You Don’t, Don’t / Blister / No Sensitivity / The Middle / 23 / Get It Faster / Seventeen / Futures / A Praise Chorus / [Encore] Goodbye Sky Harbor / Pain / Sweetness
I did a little reference to emo in this old entry. Also, for more info on emo, go here. This site is not in any way affiliated to The Neon.