Last Night: Smashing Pumpkins And Jimmy Eat World At Verizon

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Photos by Groovehouse
Still bleeding: Jimmy Eat World
Buzzfestivus with Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Eat World
Verizon Wireless Theater
December 5, 2010

Ringing in the radio-friendly holiday spirit, 94.5 The Buzz welcomed Jimmy Eat World and Smashing Pumpkins to the first night of its annual "Buzzfestivus" holiday show Sunday night. Buzzfestivus concludes with an acoustic set from Shinedown tonight.

Arizona-based power-pop rockers Jimmy Eat World are touring in support of their seventh album, this year's Invented. The band took the stage illuminated by red and white strobe lights, kicking off their set with the title track from 2001's Bleed American. They continued to pull generously from Bleed, undoubtedly their most commercially successful record, with tracks like "Hear You Me" and "Get It Faster."

The band welcomed Phoenix-based singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews onstage for Invented's "Coffee and Cigarettes," a tune that delivered Jimmy Eat World's characteristic pop punch. Andrews, who recorded backup vocals on Invented, remained onstage, contributing vocals and keys through the band's set.

"You're kicking the shit out of our Dallas crowd already," joked singer/guitarist Jim Adkins to the flattered crowd.

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While Chase the Light's "Big Casino" offered pleasant three-part harmonies, we were beginning to find it difficult differentiating one song from the next, which made us appreciate Future's "Pain," an moody, minor-key number that proved Jimmy Eat World wasn't necessarily a one-trick-pony. The fact that they next covered the gleeful Wham! holiday hit "Last Christmas" didn't hurt their cause either.

An acoustic, heartfelt "Hear You Me" got the crowd swaying, Andrews' harmonies meshing nicely with Adkins, while the bitter "Get It Faster" reeled us back into emo territory.

As the set progressed, it appeared Jimmy Eat World allows their punchy power-punk to speak on their collective behalf; the band plowed through songs with little between-song conversation or crowd interaction.

Overall, their set was expectedly emo; but Jimmy Eat World has evidently done some maturing since we've last seen them, as proven by the progressive (albeit small) dose of Invented material. Of course, we acknowledge the irony in this noted maturity: Jimmy Eat World are emo trailblazers, having helped define a genre largely made up of characteristically boyish tales of woe.

The band pocketed their most popular hits for the set's end, unveiling catchy power-pop anthems "The Middle" and "Sweetness" as set closers, each igniting an enthusiastic crowd sing-along. After unleashing their string of potent singles, Adkins thanked the crowd, announcing, "The Smashing Pumpkins are up next."

And as if it had just dawned on him that his band indeed shared a bill with the alt-rock warriors, he endearingly exclaimed, "Holy fucking shit!"

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