Concert Review: Jimmy Eat World/Manchester Orchestra

Posted on: August 11, 2023
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August 8 was the 32nd consecutive day over 100º here in the state’s capital, and what a time for Arizona- and Georgia-natives Jimmy Eat World and Manchester Orchestra to stop by.

Opening for them on this co-headlining tour was the Australian indie band Middle Kids, composed of vocalist Hannah Joy (who also plays a right-handed guitar upside down like Jimi Hendrix), Tim Fitz, Harry Day, and touring guitarist Miles Elkington.

I didn’t have a photographer for this show so you’ll have to settle for my iPhone pics

Jimmy Eat World took the stage at 7:30, coming out strong with the hard-hitting “Pain” from 2004’s Futures, followed by “Just Tonight” from the same album. Following this was “Sweetness” off 2001’s Bleed American, which was actually written for Clarity but didn’t make the cut. That’s okay, it definitely got its day in the sun in 2002.

Next up was a newer song, 2022’s “Something Loud,” a single that as of yet has no album. But they’ve toured twice since putting it out, so maybe they’re cookin’-a somethin’ up.

Clarity‘s “For Me This Is Heaven” was next, succeeded by yet another Futures track, “Kill.”

Somewhere around here, lead singer Jim Adkins apologized for bringing Arizona with them, although as I said earlier, we’re over a month into this garbage now, so he needn’t worry. He said every time he rolls through Texas he starts saying “y’all” for no reason. Arizona is on the west end of “y’all” and the east end of “dude” so they don’t really know where they fit.

all-black, all-black, all-black, black pants, all-black

“Let It Happen,” the third single from 2007’s Chase This Light followed, then 2019’s “555.” Despite not actually being an album single, “555” still produced a (very interesting) music video, and was excellent live. So much bass!

Next was “Lucky Denver Mint” which some elder millennials and gen-xers may recognize from “Never Been Kissed” – I’ve personally never seen it but the song smacks all the same. Keeping with the money theme, they followed with “Big Casino” and “Criminal Energy,” another track from 2019’s Surviving.

One of my faves, and a song that for many years I considered to be my theme song, was next. “A Praise Chorus” boasts lyrics such as “Are you going to live your life standing in the back looking around? Are you going to waste your time? Got to make a move or you’ll miss out.” I really took these to heart around the time I was deciding to move out on my own, and again when considering a career change. While the song itself is an ode to bands who have inspired Jimmy Eat World, the song itself has inspired me (and countless others) to take chances and have an active role in my own life.

Another incredibly personal song to me, “Hear You Me,” followed like a true punch to the gut. Honestly, I’m shocked I didn’t cry. This song was written about a pair of sisters who were big supporters of the band in the late 90s that tragically died in a car accident.

Fun fact: August 8 is also guitarist Tom Linton’s birthday! Jim drew attention to it, stating that he was “39” and asking who else in the crowd was “39” – “39” obviously being code for being older but pretending not to be 40 yet (according to the interwebz, Tom was born in 1975, making him 48. But who’s counting?).

Man, the band really did play through like half of Futures, because “Work” and “23” came next, making those the 4th and 5th songs respectively out of 11 total album tracks.

Jimmy Eat World’s set came to a close with “Bleed American” off the 2001 album of the same name, and the song everyone was waiting for, “The Middle,” also from that album. It was still warm during most of their set, and there were some people in the audience taking it understandably easy, but it’s safe to say that easy went out the door when “The Middle” started.

Once the sun was nice and set and a soft breeze drifted its way in, Manchester Orchestra took the stage. I’ve seen MO live countless times since 2007 and they just keep getting better.

actual potato-quality pic from April 10, 2007 at Stubb’s

Let me preface this by saying that, although there were breaks in songs, the band almost never stopped playing entirely. I feel like a lot of songs bled into one another in the way that albums used to before streaming.

The band began their set with “Pride” from 2009’s Mean Everything To Nothing. If I’m not mistaken, their Twitter handle around this time was “@letmypridebe,” although that may have also just been my friend Katie.

This was followed by 2021’s “Keel Timing” and “Bed Head,” which singer Andy Hull has actually described as being a duology.

After that, Andy addressed the audience saying that the next song was a test “to see who fucked with us before ‘The Gold,’” before launching into “I Can Barely Breathe,” a song from their 2006 debut I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child. That entire album is *chef’s kiss* but that’s my favourite, and I think I screamed like a horror movie victim.

Going back to 2011 was “Pale Black Eye” before bringing us back to the present with “The Way” from their latest EP The Valley of Vision. Then they took it back to 2011 with the title track “Simple Math.” They ended this run with the bridge from “I Can Feel A Hot One.”

From there they played “Cope” from the 2014 album of the same name and “The Maze” from A Black Mile to the Surface. After the song, Andy stopped to let the audience know “This is my favourite city y’all, thanks for being so cool all the time.” They proceeded to launch into “The Gold,” their biggest hit to date, which really propelled them into the mainstream and larger rock conversation.

“We’re on about the best tour you can ask for right now,” Andy said, before playing 2009’s “Shake It Out,” after which he added, “I’m having a lot of fun!”

Winding down, the band played “Dinosaur” from The Million Masks of God, and ended with “The Silence.” They didn’t defraud us with an encore, and I’m fine with that.

Going into this tour, I thought it was an odd combination. Jimmy Eat World and Manchester Orchestra don’t really play the same kind of music. JEW is far poppier while MO is somewhere between indie and hard rock. But you know what? It worked. And I don’t only say that because I enjoy both bands. Also, they missed a golden opportunity to call it the JEWMO tour.

I’d still love to hear the story of how this bill came together, but I want more tours like this. Co-headlining shows where the bands/artists don’t make exactly the same type of music.