Doc Roc Presents
Jimmy Eat World
Fri Mar 10
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
This event is all ages
Advance $27 | Day of Show $29 | Door $29 | Mezzanine (21+) $42
There is a $2 fee that applies to each ticket purchased at the Cain's Box Office.
No re-entry! No smoking! No refunds!
Oklahoma Joe's BBQ will be available for dinner from 7pm - 8:30pm.
Support acts are subject to change without notice!
“We took a little break,” smiles lead singer and guitarist Jim Adkins.
After a successful 10th anniversary tour revisiting Futures, the musicians briefly went their separate ways at the end of 2014. Adkins released a series of 7” & embarked on his first worldwide solo tour, Lind released an EP and toured with his wife in The Wretched Desert, Linton took up boxing, and Burch opened up CaskWerks Distillery in Arizona.
When the band reconvened in November 2015, they teamed up with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen [Paramore, M83] and began sifting through ideas.
“I came to a realization,” admits Adkins. “In the break, writing was a little trickier. I wanted to change things up. So, instead of writing about a problem, I wanted to write about a solution. If you look at your life for what’s going wrong, it won’t be too hard to find things. If you start looking at what you have rather than what you’re missing out on, you come away from things with a much different perspective that’s a lot more grateful and positive. As an album, Integrity Blues is about trying to overcome that personal struggle instead of getting upset with what life could be that it isn’t.”
They recorded in Los Angeles with Meldal-Johnsen, offering a different setting from their usual Arizona digs.
“We became willing to throw away our default responses to everything and search for the best answers rather than relying on what was familiar or comfortable. When you’re younger and you make music, you do it for discovery. Being in this for a long time, it’s about throwing out all of your expectations and comforts and seeing what you can do without them.”
With warm production and a powerful upbeat groove, Integrity Blues first single “Sure and Certain” pairs a buzzing guitar hum with an unshakable chant.
“It’s about the idea of having blinders on for what you want to do and achieve,” the frontman explains. “Since you’re so laser focused on what you think you want, you’re missing out on everything around you. It can be a very limiting way to go about life.”
Meanwhile, the gorgeously minimal title track “Integrity Blues” tempers orchestral, cinematic overtones with a stark and striking vocal performance.
“It was a song I wrote on the solo tour,” he recalls. “Sometimes, the idea of walking your path the best you can feels like lonely work. The only way out is action. Feelings of being in a dark place are actually growth opportunities. It’s emotional jiu-jitsu to shift your perspective into seeing it that way.”
Elsewhere on the record, “Get Right” snaps into an energetic refrain, while “Through” serves up one of the band’s hookiest moments to date.
“You Are Free” flaunts one of the group’s most hummable and heartfelt refrains, serving as another high watermark. “It Matters” illuminates the band’s diverse sonic palette and covers what Adkins describes as “a central theme about the idea that a sense of comfort comes from within and not just external validation.”
“Pass The Baby” builds from a delicate heartbeat-style click into a deliberate and distorted explosion. Near seven-minute closer “Pol Roger” carves out an emotional and entrancing climax encased in a rapture of guitars and vocals, which according to Adkins, “Felt like the right way to sum everything up.”
Surveying the journey thus far, Adkins maintains the same passion he did on day one, and it continues to fuel Jimmy Eat World. “I’ve wanted to play music since second grade, and here I am playing music. It’s something we’re immensely grateful for. That’s why we don’t take it lightly. We want to be in a constant state of progress. You have to move forward in a way that’s challenging and evolving.”
“At the end of the day, you have to be proud of your own work,” he leaves off. “We are. If you breathe that in and believe it, you’ve won.”
Of course, if you're aware of Andrew Jackson Jihad – comprised of founding members Sean Bonnette (vocals and guitar) and Ben Gallaty (bass), with Preston Bryant (keyboards, guitars) and Deacon Batchelor (drums) and album/touring cellist Mark Glick – you'll know that the Phoenix, Arizona outfit have been doing exactly that for the last decade. In fact, they've built a significant cult following since their inception in 2004, one that knows just how heartbreaking, heartwarming and inspiring their shambolic songs can be. This record – their first for SideOneDummy Records – is no different. And while Bonnette acknowledges it's their most cohesive to date, it wasn't the easiest to write.
"One or two of these songs," he explains, "I'd started writing before our last album was out. And then there was a bit of struggle to write, a battle against self-doubt that I eventually won, with the help of [producer] John Congleton. He definitely helped coax out songs. He told us, 'Write as many songs as you can and send them to me, and I'll tell you which ones I want to record.' Since then, I've started to adopt that method, not so much worrying if a song is a good song, but just making sure that I write a song. It was a really fun process, after the battle against self-doubt was won."
You can hear just how fun it was when you listen to it. Recorded by Congleton (Murder By Death, The Mountain Goats, Okkervil River, The Thermals) at Elmwood Studios in Dallas, Texas, Christmas Island's twelve songs are good songs – actually, they're great songs – and they combine to present a vibrant vision of what Andrew Jihad Jackson is all about; blurring the lines between the ludicrous and the earnest, reality and surreality. Take, for instance, 'Linda Rondstadt', a plaintive three minute ballad about the power country/soft rock singer. 'Today I lost my shit in a museum / It was a video installation of Linda Rodstadt,' opines Bonnette in the first verse, before the chorus kicks in: 'I almost made it through a year of choking down my fears / But they're gone for now, all thanks to Linda Rondstadt.' It sounds ridiculous, but it's a true story.
"That's one of the songs about something that actually happened," says Bonnette. "I was living back in Phoenix, Arizona after living in Chicago for a year with my girlfriend. So I was really homesick, but I was at home, and we went to the Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona as chaperones for my uncle's high school ESL class, but as soon as we got there we fucked off and didn't supervise any of those kids. We just walked around, and I found an installation of Linda Rondstadt's music, of her singing in Spanish. And it was at that point that I just lost it. All of the homesickness hit me and I just started weeping. The weird thing is that I wasn't even that big a fan of Linda Rondstadt until that moment. I'd always thought positively of her, but she'd certainly never made me cry before"
While that song might relate to one specific moment of overwhelming grief, there's an underlying influence that runs through all of them – the death of Bonnette's grandfather. Last track 'Angel Of Death' references it explicitly, but his grandfather's presence is in all of these songs.
"A whole lot of the record," explains Bonnette, "is about pre-grieving. He passed away about a month before we went in to record it. I flew in after a solo tour and made it just in time to watch him die and be with him. The next week we started practising to record. So he was pretty much with me the entire time, and was obviously playing on my mind. A lot of these songs are about grieving before you need to grieve and making your peace with it before anything happens. I had my worst night before I flew home, before he'd even passed away. But there's another theme, too – which is pretty heavily handed in the song 'Deathlessness' – and that's that forgiveness is a pretty wonderful thing. After my grandfather's death, I realised that there were a couple of people I'd been holding grudges and ill will against and I decided to forgive them, and I feel a lot better about it now."
That tension between fury and forgiveness, between anger and calm, between love and hate and life and death, isn't just thematic, but weaved into in the sonic fabric of these songs. In 'Deathlessness' itself, the jaunty, minor chord melody rages against the inevitability of death, the tune restless and agitated until the key refrain – 'How can I live without ever knowing the beauty of forgiveness?' – tempers it with grace and, yes, beauty. Opener 'Temple Grandin' is scuzzy yet melodic, while the tense euphoria of 'Children Of God' is as beautiful and disturbing as the song's incredible imagery (choice example: 'I found a weird calling card in a puddle of body parts inside a bowl of angel hearts that the children were eating'). 'Kokopelli Face Tattoo' – which has been floating around for years in various guises – thrashes with fuzzy, catchy energy, 'Coffin Dance' is fragile yet frustrated, worn down by life but desperate to kick out against it, and closer 'Angel Of Death' brims with a confidence that bravely defies its subject matter.
"We'd just finished touring as an electric band," says Bonnette, "and we were kind of ready to make an electric rock album. I'm so glad we didn't do that. Because John wanted to make a mostly acoustic album that was really brutal, that was sonically very distorted and over-driven and almost painful to listen to. Almost as if to prove that acoustic music can be heavy. But he also wanted me to write songs from the heart."
These are certainly songs from the heart, but ones as unusual as they are traditional. It's a record that's raw and gentle, hummable yet abrasive and downright weird and wonderful. It's a little bit silly and a little bit serious, full of sad humor and hilarious pathos. Because Christmas Island – it's far from a random title, but it's also kind of a secret – is simultaneously ridiculous and sublime in the way that Andrew Jackson Jihad always have been. It's a record absolutely in keeping with their bold and brilliant past – the one their cult following has been following for years – but it's also a bold and brilliant step forward. That's something Bonnette, in his typically modest, playful way, almost agrees with.
"I'm mostly happy with it," he chuckles. "I think our next record will be better than this. At least, I hope that it would be. But if I died tomorrow, I'd be really happy that this was the last thing I recorded."
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