Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I’m still living in the early 2000’s music scene. Although I love watching and listening to new bands, there’s an indescribable sense of comfort that comes from listening to the stuff I listened to back in the day. I am always chasing that sense of nostalgia when it comes to my daily playlists and concerts that’s why when Jimmy Eat World announced a show, I knew I couldn’t resist.
Kicking off the Thursday night was Microwave- a band that my obsession over seems to grow with every passing day. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Microwave is a fairly new band having just formed back in 2012. Since then, they have been bumping out some of the freshest (yet with a sense of nostalgia) music in the current pop-punk landscape. Although every song they performed was distinctively Microwave’s, there’s a sense of nostalgia with the way the songs are written. The catchy choruses mixed with the heartfelt and angsty verses create a sound that is absolutely impossible to ignore or write off. Although their live show leaves a bit to be desired by ways of energy and action, Microwave’s music seems to do all of the talking for them and truly steals the spotlight just as it should. It may have been early in the night and people may have still be streaming in as the band pumped through their quick set but hearing some of the songs that have been on repeat in my head for the past couple of months was definitely the perfect way to start my night.
After a quick change over, it was time for yet another band that seems to be taking over my daily playlist lately- The Hotelier. Much like Microwave, although The Hotelier’s sound is new and fresh, there’s a sense of the ‘good ole’ days’ wrapped into it. Singer Christian Holden has a very distinct voice that would have helped the band hit gold back in the heyday of the emo/ pop-punk days in the early 2000’s. It’s delicate and full of emotion while having a undeniable sense of power and control about it. That mixed with the heartfelt lyrics left the sold out crowd with something to truly get behind. Although it was clear that not everyone had heard of The Hotelier prior to entering last night’s show, it was obvious that there were some fans that have been following this band since the beginning back in 2009. I loved seeing fans, both new and old, nod along to the beat and sing along where they could. Sure, there was passion and love flowing off the stage from this four piece but there was also passion and love being shot right back at them from the crowd and that created a perfect atmosphere.
Headlining the completely sold out First Avenue show was the one and only Jimmy Eat World. Go ahead and try to pretend like you have completely forgotten about this band but I’m sure if I were to put on their 2001 “Bleed American” album on, you would be screaming and crying along to every word. So, full disclosure, “Bleed American” is the one and only JEW album that I ever really got addicted to. I was honestly a bit surprised to find out that they have continued to put out music over the years including an album that just came out two years ago, “Integrity Blues”. Although I knew this meant I would be waiting through new songs and the inevitable impatience that comes with waiting for those moments of pure nostalgia, it was heartwarming to know that this band that had such a huge effect on so many people (if only for one album) never stopped and have continued to share their passion and talent over the years.
I honestly felt like a bit of a dick as I stood through the newer songs with my arms crossed and my phone in hand. It’s not that they were bad but more not what I was there to hear. JEW has clearly held onto their signature emo pop sounds but, with the new songs, they seem to have acquired a sense of maturity. I’ve talked about how I’ve grown up with some bands and how every album seems to grow up with me. From singing about going to prom to the inevitable breakup to starting a family to feeling like you’re falling behind– some bands just grow up with you. Even though I fell off the JEW wagon years ago, it’s clear that this band has that same effect on people and watching as people sing along to the songs that have soundtracked their lives is almost more exciting than watching a live band.
From the moment that the first note of ‘Sure and Certain’ came through the speaker until the very last note of ‘The Middle’ was left hanging in the air at the end, there was a sense of excitement during JEW’s set that is next to impossible to put into words. Whether you were there to sing along to every word of every song or there just to hear those old favorites that would instantly transport you back to high school, you were excited. Just like the two opening acts, there was an undeniable sense of passion and conviction that flowed from the stage to the audience and vice versa. Although this happens at majority of the shows I go to, it seemed to be magnified last night which just added to the already electric air.
I went to last night’s show for a little taste of the new scene I’ve recently fallen in love with and a whole lot of nostalgia from a band that I hadn’t listened to in years. I got both of those things and a little extra and ended up leaving with a smile on my face that has yet to fade.