REVIEW: Jimmy Eat World at Summerfest

It’s easy to forget that Jimmy Eat World is a band that formed 26 years ago and has nine albums worth of material in their catalog. However, when Adler of FM 1021 included that in his intro on Saturday night, it served as foreshadowing for the next hour of music on the Uline Warehouse. The band came out and launched into their hit “Pain”, which felt like it could come later in the night. However, a well crafted setlist would remind you that Jimmy Eat World has been turning out consistent hits for well over two decades.

The pacing of the band’s show, which ran just under an hour, felt near-perfect for a crowd that now spans generations. Many of the Uline Warehoue attendees likely growing up with the band, and even if you were just coming to hear “The Middle” and “Sweetness”, there was enough music to make you realize that they have that song, too. And that other one. And another one. The set also was devised in a way that Jimmy Eat World could lean into some less familiar songs to the crowd, including a new single, but then come back with a hit so as not to lose the crowd in the process.

Much of the band’s “Bleed American” album, their breakout release, was featured throughout the night. The title track got the second big reaction of the show early on, with the band ripping through the track and sending a glowing, spinning backdrop into a frenzy. Almost half of the record was featured, including a still-poignant version of “Hear You Me” later in the night that likely resonated differently to much of the crowd in 2019 than it did in 2001 when it was released. There were songs that brought up a level of nostalgia, but nothing felt out of date by any means.

Part of keeping the older material fresh is the delivery, and frontman Jim Adkins was crucial to keeping the show moving on Saturday. In near-constant motion, Adkins was quickly a sweaty, energetic beacon of youth performing like the band was still trying to break out to the world. There wasn’t a lot of banter with the crowd, and frankly their really didn’t need to be. Adkins did, however, graciously thank Milwaukee for sticking with the band over the years and it felt very genuine. He did also have another announcement; the band will have a new record out this fall, three years since their previous release.

While they could have played longer, the band opted for a very tight, fun show that reminded you that the band has learned a thing or two in their time together. There’s no signs of slowing down for Jimmy Eat World, and their set on Saturday night proved that.

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