September 11th, 2001 will be a date recalled in numerous history texts, web pages, and the hearts and minds of millions of people world wide. When an attack of this nature takes place, music takes a back seat for a time. The question is, when do you let the rock come forward again? For me, it was immediately. Music was the sole way I coped with the tragedy, playing everything from Thursday to Karate to let my emotions out via my speakers. I was still feeling incomplete, though. I hadn't found the one band that could make me feel revived after my emotional death on 9/11. Thank the stars that Jimmy Eat World didn't cancel their Chicago show, for I am a new man because of it.
The night started off as most do, with everyone waiting in line outside Chicago's Metro, getting to know each other. I met two awesome girls named Kendall and Katie, and they were just as psyched as I was to get in. None of us had seen JEW before, and we were all huge fans. As the doors opened and the line slowly filed in, I made a beeline to the front of the stage [yes, along with my friend Liz -- you thought you could avoid her]. As we got settled in, Reubens Accomplice took the stage.
Reubens Accomplice has been mentioned countless times to me by other friends, bands, and websites. Ironically, though, after being together for 6 years, have just put out their first full-length album. I had yet to hear them, so I wasn't expecting much. Boy, was I taken aback. Imagine if the Promise Ring had all been born and raised in the Southwest, and grew up on a steady diet of Wilco and Modest Mouse. You'd have somewhat of an idea of what Reubens Accomplice sounded like. It wasn't groundbreaking by any means, but it sure was enjoyable. They didn't have the best stage presence, but I can forgive that -- I mean, there were 1500 people watching them. I'd probably be a little scared, too.
It was during Reubens Accomplice when the first problem of the night arose. I pulled out my camera to take a picture of the band, and a security guard approached me from behind the barrier and told me that I had to have a photo pass, otherwise he would confiscate my camera. He was very nice about it, which impressed me. I tried to convince him it was okay by saying I was a writer for the world famous Punknews.org [ok, so I'm embellishing a little], but he didn't buy it. He said I needed a photo pass, otherwise my picture taking days were over. It really ticked me off, as I've seen tons of bands at the Metro, none of which had any sort of "no photo" clause in their contract. But because JEW is on a major label, there's no unauthorized pictures allowed of any of the bands on the show. Go fig.
So after Reubens Accomplice finished up their great set, I told Liz to hold my spot [which was near to impossible, considering the place was filled to capacity], and ventured down to the box office to convince them I deserved a photo pass. I tracked down the person in charge, but she told me unless I had permission from a band, I couldn't get one. Dejected, I went to the merch table to get the Reubens Accomplice CD. As I stood in line, my mind devised a plan. I asked one of the people selling JEW merch if they were involved with the band's management in any way. It turns out the guy I asked by sheer coincidence turned out to be JEW's tour manager Rick Moreno. I explained my plight, and he, being the coolest person in the world, got me the hook up. Thank you Rick Moreno.
So I pushed my way back to the front [amazingly my spot was still there], photo pass in hand, just in time to see the start of Hey Mercedes. I know I catch a lot of flak on this site for bashing this band, but my verdict on them sticks: bor-ing. They played for 45 minutes and the crowd was just standing there, stock still. Bob Nanna and Co. seemed to be having a good time, but no one else was. Alas, how the mighty have fallen.
After their atrocity of a set was completed, the mood in the crowd got much brighter, knowing who was up next. I started to complain to Liz because all these 14-year old girls started popping up all around us, trying to wedge their way in front of me. Hey people, if you want to be up front, get there early, cause I'm not gonna budge for some girl who heard Jimmy Eat World on Q101 and thought the song was "almost as good as Blink or NFG". Anyways. The lights dimmed, the crowd roared, and JEW came out with a bang, immediately going into their current single "Bleed American." As I rocked out with the rest of the crowd, i thought "Good, they're playing the single first; maybe some of the kids will clear out." I'll be damned, none of them did. This means 2 things - one, some of these kids are smarter than I gave them credit for, and two, I'm going to get smooshed all night. Fortunately the crowd was extremely tame [in a good way] with no moshing, no pushing, and no crowd surfing. We all just had our own little private dance parties going on in each of our little sectors. As the band rocked through the majority of their new album, as well as throwing in a few oldies off of "Static Prevails" and "Clarity", the crowd continued to beg for more. I continued to yell for "Opener"; a girl behind me yelled for "No Sensitivity." We combined our efforts, made a double-sided sign, and got at least one of them played ["No Sensitivity"]. The crowd was hovering on the edge of euphoria all night long. My only serious complaint? The lack of singing along on the older tracks. The kid next to me [who looked just like Chris Conley from Saves The Day] and his girlfriend only sang along with the new songs, which prompted me to yell "Learn the fucking words!" during "No Sensitivity" as he stood there, face blank. Even that couldn't bring this show down for me. The band played an encore [and could have played 3 more, as the crowd wasn't budging],and quickly left the stage. I felt like I had been reborn. I had finally gotten to see one of my favorite bands after all these years, and they did not disappoint. This concert made me feel normal again. I forgot temporarily about all the problems in the world and concentrated on just singing along, as loud as I possibly could. It seems like 99% of the crowd also had the same good intentions.
1) Bleed Am (Bleed American)
2) Praise (A Praise Chorus)
4) New Aesthetic (Your New Aesthetic)
7) Denver (Lucky Denver Mint)
8) If You Don't (If You Don't, Don't)
9) Heaven (For Me This is Heaven)
11) Authority Song
13) Get It Faster
14) Hear You Me
15) No Sensitivity
17) Table For Glasses
18) Sky Harbor (Goodbye Sky Harbor)
Pictures coming soon, hopefully!