Wednesday 24 January 2018


Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Jimmy Eat World

Olympia, Dublin

International bands tend to play venues the size of the Olympia twice in their career. Once on the way up, and once again on the way down.

On paper, this appearance by Arizonan emo rock pioneers seems to be at least 10 years too late, but the Dame Street venue is packed with fans eager to savour a blast of noisy nostalgia.

To be fair, Jimmy Eat World have been an ongoing concern since 1993. This isn't your typical reunion tour, but yet another pit stop on a constant and remarkably resilient career that has weathered the vagaries of musical fads and fashions.

Apart from a 2001 American number one entitled 'The Middle', which received a lot of radio play and MTV rotation back when it was actually a music channel, Jimmy Eat World haven't exactly been sound tracking the zeitgeist or setting the world on fire.

Opening with 'I Will Steal You Back' from their eighth studio album Damage, it is immediately apparent that their remaining fans are very much of the hardcore and intensely loyal variety. Apart from a short acoustic set from singer Jim Adkins, which induces many in the crowd to scurry towards the bar and smoking area, an enthusiastic audience sing along to every word and revel in every noisy power chord.

Jimmy Eat World sound every bit as tight and impressive as you'd expect a band who've spent 20 years on the road to be, but their songs still merge into a mildly entertaining but ultimately very unsatisfying soup of noise.

They chip in a cover of Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together' that exposes them to be little more than a hard-rock version of bland Americana. Adkins apologises for being jet-lagged to bits on their second European date, expressing a wish to keep his between-song banter to an absolute minimum to avoid saying anything embarrassing.

It's a shame, as an opportunity for some genuine mirth and entertainment is lost. However, one suspects that Jimmy Eat World probably wouldn't have much to say for themselves, even if they were slamming tequila and freebasing cocaine.

Their performance is somewhat pleasant, but painfully plodding. The first encore is ruined by a bout of feedback on the microphones, which at least functions as a timely wake-up call.

The Arizonans finish with 'The Middle', which, despite being their best-known song, sounds painfully formulaic and far too safe for the intents and purposes of compelling rock 'n' roll.

Ultimately, Jimmy Eat World are as forgettable and dull as their preposterous name.

Irish Independent

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