Tickets are on-sale now at the Top Hat Box Office & online at www.thewilma.com
Tickets go on sale Friday, February 10 and will be available at The Top Hat, online or by phone at 877-987-6487. Reserved premium balcony seating, reserved standard balcony seating, and general admission standing room only floor tickets are available. All ages are welcome.
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Jimmy Eat World
Before Jimmy Eat World entered the studio to record their ninth full-length album, Integrity Blues [RCA], the members of the multiplatinum Mesa, AZ rock band did something they’ve never done in over two decades.
“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.”
- 1. You With Me
- 2. Sure and Certain
- 3. It Matters
- 4. Pretty Grids
- 5. Pass the Baby
- 6. Get Right
- 7. You Are Free
- 8. The End is Beautiful
- 9. Through
- 10. Integrity Blues
- 11. Pol Roger
“I don’t want to whisper things anymore. I want to yell them.” — Beach Slang’s James Alex
First there’s the choppy E chord, revving the song like a boot stomping a gas pedal: the sound of all that excess energy built up at the start of the night. Then comes James Alex’s fine-grain sandpaper voice: “Play it loud, play it fast / Play me something that will always last / Play it soft, play it quiet / Play me something that might save my life…”
James Alex, songwriter and front man for Philly indie-punk outfit Beach Slang, knows wherefrom he sings. Like a lot of us, Alex is that kid Lou Reed sang about, the one whose life was saved by rock and roll. And A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings (Polyvinyl), Beach Slang’s second full-length, is just that—a crash-and-thunder collection of songs about what it takes to keep yourself going, to make it through the rest of the night—hell, through the rest of your youth—and beyond.
Coming off a string of acclaimed EPs, Beach Slang’s first album, 2015’s The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us, won remarkably effusive acclaim from a number of critics, and wound up on several “best-of-the-year” lists. James wrote much of A Loud Bash Of Teenage Feelings on that album’s support tour, during which he spent a lot of time with the kids who’d picked up the record.
“A lot of the songs [on Loud Bash] are the stories of the kids who got turned on to Beach Slang by the first album,” says Alex. “They’re autobiographical, too, but kind of at a remove—I’m not that young kid anymore, but I used to be. You know how it is; rock and roll is a new crop of 15-year-olds picking up guitars every year and having at it. There was something really cool about documenting someone elses life, but seeing myself in it. I suppose that’s why we connect. We’re all kind of one big gang.”
The same could be said of Beach Slang itself, whose members came together very organically. After logging 15 years in Weston, the much-praised Philly hardcore punk outfit, Alex brought the songs that would become Beach Slang’s first EP to an impromptu jam session with outside musicians, including future bassist Ed McNulty. “It felt right, right away,” says James. “It was one of those rock and roll moments.” When second guitarist Ruben Gallego joined them soon after, Alex knew they’d found the formula for Beach Slang, a band that draws in equal measure from punk’s raw energy and power-pop’s emotional forthrightness—a combination that Alex found himself resonating with as he moved into adulthood and became a father.
Going into the second record, Alex didn’t feel a sense of pressure to match the broad, unexpected success of the first. “What I did feel was a sense of responsibility to the kids who told me they were finding something in our music that brought them back from a bad place, the ones who were getting Beach Slang tattoos and quoting lyrics to me after the shows. I don’t want to let those people down. As a 20-year-old, I thought, hey, let’s all have fun, we’re gonna live forever. You don’t really see the finish line. Now it’s more like, am I leaving behind work that’s going to matter? What’s this going to say about me when I run out of air, and my son is listening to these records and tapes that I left behind. Is he going to say, “Yeah, my dad was all right”? These days I feel like I’m responsible for things bigger than myself. And I want to do right by them.”
Indeed, Alex is that rare songwriter who can create songs that blend his own Young Man Blues with the grown man’s earned perspective. Check the arresting “Punks In A Disco Bar” and “Spin The Dial” for his skill at merging full-throttle hooks with memorable, whip-smart lyrics, or “Art Damage” and “Wasted Daze Of Youth” for a lesson in how rock and roll can be sinister and dissonant, and still end up beautiful.
For all the volume and the fuzz and the fury, Beach Slang is a band for sloppy romantics who got there the hard way (“I still taste you in the ash / of every cigarette you kill,” sings Alex). And that’s how the band wants it: “Whether this Beach Slang thing flies or falls,” says Alex, “we want to know that we put everything into it. We’re a rock and roll band; we make records and we tour. We want to sweat it and bleed it. We want to do it like the bands we love and respect did it.
“Without these guys,” James Alex says, “my life would feel really, really empty. And I have a full, beautiful life. But you know how some people have the ‘god hole’? I have the rock and roll hole. I’m that kid with the posters on his wall. Whether I’m right or I’m wrong, I’ve convinced myself this is why I’m here.”
Beach Slang—plug it in, turn it up, and let it scream.