Jimmy Eat World, Wonder Ballroom, Portland Oregon

Jimmy Eat World

Wonder Ballroom, Portland Oregon, May 19, 2011


Arriving at the show I was greeted with an interesting mix of fans. The venue was split in half between the non-drinkers and the of-agers. What the venue failed to realize was that a vast majority of Jimmy Eat World’s fan-base is well above the legal drinking limit, and the underage side was grossly under-populated.

In the drinking side I saw the typical “ironic” hipsters Portland is so well-known for, as well as the college jock crowd that heard “The Middle” when they were in High School and acted like each song was going to turn into. I made my way upstairs and staked my claim in a spot with a good view.

What always surprises me about Jimmy Eat World is how little I hear about them. No breakups and makeups, no lineup changes, this is a squeaky clean band. The members of the band performed their own line checks, and took the stage.

Their set had all my favorites, including Clarity in its entirety, though thankfully not in ordered succession. Concept albums I can handle in that format, any J.E.W. album in a similar format, not so much; and they knew it. This is a true band of professionals. They play to their strong suits and give a very entertaining show.

Although I will say that it was marred by the chick on the piano – good lord, she did not need to be there in the slightest; it truly was a wonderful experience. There is nothing in this world like hearing “Cautioners” live. No auto-tuning, no wall of sound, just four (and a half) guys on stage doing what they do. It is very hard to find a band that maintains their integrity and dignity while their contemporaries put on eyeliner and fluff out what little hair they have left to try and stay “emo” as long as they can.

Their perseverance and love of playing shines through, and I hope that they have a long and fruitful career.

Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.