It’s time to sing it back, South by Southwest, to the heyday of emo and pop punk. It’s 2017, and Jimmy Eat World came correct.
The Arizona band, led by the weaponized niceness that is Jim Adkins, has been around almost a quarter of a century. But for a certain age group — roughly those who came of age on big feelings (like those on 1999’s “Clarity”) and/or big hooks (anything from 2001’s “Bleed American,” 2004’s “Futures” or, if we’re being generous but also fair, 2007’s still-pretty-good “Chase This Light”) — J.E.W. is timeless. “Bleed American” was one of my first teenage CDs, and I’ll never not lose my ever-lovin’ mind to “Sweetness.”
I’m very much not alone. On my walk down Red River, I found myself behind three other Jimmy Eat World fans booking it to Bungalow for the band’s 10 p.m. set. One said something along the lines of “I hope we get in line in time.” The other responded that there probably weren’t that many fans of early 2000s emo rock to contend with. They still walked faster than anyone else in the crowd.
So in honor of Jimmy Eat World’s irrepressible SXSW set that night, here are the 12 songs from the setlist and the line that was the most *emotional* to scream out loud with all of those new friends.
“Salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt/Our hearts littering the topsoil/Tune in and we can get the last call/Our lives, our coal.”
“Boy, you must be dreaming’/Rock on young saviour, don’t give up your hopes.”
“I Will Steal You Back”
“Funny how the smallest lie/Might live a million times/I will steal you back.”
To be honest, this song is off the new album, “Integrity Blues,” and it seemed a little too dark for ol’ Jimmer. It’s like that time I didn’t get a part in the school play as an alcoholic father because the director said I didn’t have enough rage inside.
“Work” (not the Rihanna song, but that would have been a hoot)
“Work and play they’re never okay/To mix the way we do.”
“It’s a lie, a kiss with opened eyes/And she’s not breathing back/Anything but bother me/(It takes my pain away).”
“Lucky Denver Mint”
“You’re not bigger than this, not better/Why can’t you learn?”
“I’m alone in this/I’m as I’ve always been/Right behind what’s happening.”
“A Praise Chorus”
“I’m on my feet, I’m on the floor, I’m good to go/Now all I need is just to hear a song I know/I want to always feel like part of this was mine/I want to fall in love tonight.” Also, the entire song.
“Sure and Certain”
Also, y’know, from the new album. But a much better song!
The whole song. The whole dang song.
Adkins, the sweatiest man in emo and a consummate maker of audience eye contact, graciously thanked the audience after the set. It was smiles all under the Bungalow tent. There’s something magic about getting an old secret club back together, because they’ll always feel like part of it was theirs, as the song (kind of) goes.