Five thoughts: Jimmy Eat World at House of Blues, September 25

Chris Bitonti

1. The House of Blues is full on a Wednesday for Jimmy Eat World’s first stop in Las Vegas since 2011. The audience ranges from older fans who have no doubt followed the band since Static Prevails was released in the late ’90 to the children of those longtime followers.

2. The Mesa, Arizona, natives struggle to find their footing early in their set, which is comprised mostly of tracks off Clarity, Bleed American and Futures, sprinkled with a few songs from the recently released Damage.

3. Ageless frontman Jim Adkins has a distinct voice that can still deliver catchy pop-melodies with effort and endless heart. He seems determined to salvage the show for his bandmates, whose attitudes border on complacency. I guess that's why they're not called Tommy Eat World.

4. After that uncharacteristically slow start, Jimmy Eat World explodes with energy late in the show, ending on a strong note with a series of consecutive fan favorites: “Goodbye Sky Harbor,” “A Praise Chorus,” “Sweetness” and “Bleed American,” plus an encore that includes “23” and “The Middle.”

5. “You know we've been a band for almost 20 years now. The fact that you all showed up tonight is amazing,” Adkins says before wrapping up the band’s 90-minute set. The group’s best work still holds up—great pop anthems with an understated depth to that could easily go overlooked.

  • At this point, the only constant from album to album is the band’s dedication to ambition.

  • Anyone who discovered COC at the band’s popular height should be satisfied with this effective return to the familiar.

  • Bassist Nate Brenner partners with leader Merrill Garbus for an approachable and dancey record.

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