Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Live Review: Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World)/ Yotam Ben Horin @ Barby, Tel Aviv [31st August 2015]

Tonight sees me at Tel Aviv's Barby Club, one of the main venues for big acts just below stadium status, to see an acoustic set by Jimmy Eat World's Jim Adkins. Although only properly getting into Jimmy Eat World's back catalogue recently, I decided that this would be too much of an opportunity to miss out on.

Yotam Ben Horin

   Due to not expecting the show to start on time and having to come to the Barby straight after work, I end up missing a good percentage of Useless Id's Yotam's acoustic set. I walk in to the sounds of Yotam's calming soothing vocals and gentle strumming to find the rock venue transformed into a vegas night club, with people seated around circular tables under the Barby's huge chandelier. I have a feeling that the set itself was not too different to that of a few days ago at the Not On Tour show (see review). However, there is less of the local punk scene here tonight, besides Useless ID bandmates and some who may have liked the band "back in the day". There's not as much singing along to hits such as Blood Pressure and Symptoms but there is still a good response and enthusiastic cheers as Yotam screams "Take, take, TAAAKE" during Blood Pressure. There's basically no-one else more perfect to support the solo outing of a popular band's front man than that of a local popular band's front man. I am pretty sure they are both equally honoured.


Jim Adkins

   I'm not going to lie. Despite knowing the big hits from the Bleed American era, I pretty much overlooked Jimmy Eat World all these years. I didn't even realise that they were active a lot longer before that album. I tried to brush up on their material for tonight's show, but theirs so much it was impossible. Instead, I come into this show with an open mind as if I am watching a new act.
   As Jim Adkins graces the stage, he is greeted by a warm welcome from the surprisingly small turnout. Jim is a very presentable man and comes out onto the stage looking and behaving very refined. His set starts with what seems to be a new track no-one really knows, Love Don't Wait. The beautiful ballad helps to set the scene that this tonight is going to be something special. Despite being a new song for many, his strong vocals encourage cheering from the crowd as he reaches high notes.
    After some polite words, Jim continues his set with a good deal of oldies from 1999's Clarity, as well as a few songs from 2004's Futures, 2007's Chase This Light and their last album, 2013's Damage. There seems to be some old school Jimmy fans dotted around the room, cheering when they recognise intros and singing along to a good number of the songs, but the crowd in general just seem to be pleasantly and quietly enjoying the sultry tones of all the songs played tonight.
   Due to having done a bit of homework and listened mainly to Clarity prior to the show, I recognised the infectious On A Sunday and the sub-pop-like Lucky Denver Mint, which has people joining in on the "You're not bigger than this.." chorus as Jim joyfully strums away. Other songs that catch my attention include the song that is played in between the aforementioned oldies, Please Say No, Damage and You Were Good, all of which happen to be from the Damage album. Where both Please Say No and Damage are quite emotionally intense, You Were Good is bittersweet, being a tale of lost love sung over a bouncy melody. These three acoustic versions alone proved to me that I definitely need to give that record a listen. Sounds like it must be a great break-up album.
   Among the Jimmy Eat World classic, Jim also plays brand new songs and covers, some of which he previously released through his "weekly single series" online. Hell and Get Right have more of that rocking Jimmy Eat World vibe whereas I Will Go is more reminiscent of 60s pop rock like Sunny Afternoon (The Kinks). The crowd get excited when hearing covers like Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (originally by Robert Hazard) and Only Girl (In The World) by Rihanna. I'm personally all for men covering songs by women and vice versa and it seems to also satisfy many others here tonight. He also plays some really old covers that go over my head, such as The Book Of Love (The Magnetic Fields), Make The World Go Away (Hank Cochran) and Give Me A Sweetheart (The Everly Brothers), but he still plays them with precision and gusto. He also plays Beautiful Is, which is a Jimmy Eat World b-side from the Chase This Light era. It sounds just as sweet and beautiful acoustically as it does on the original recording.
   The sing-alongs start up again as Jim plays Big Casino from Chase This Light, with the crowd joining in on the "Get up!" back up vocals, The Authority Song from Bleed American and Work from Futures. Personally, I wasn't expecting him to play anything from Bleed American, judging by what I had read on setlist.fm (more homework that I did.) Not only did he play The Authority Song but he then treated us all to what has to be the most famous Jimmy Eat World song there is; The Middle. As you'd imagine, this had people, especially the young women, up on their feet clapping and singing along. Let's face it, it's impossible not to enjoy this song. It would have been nice to have heard Your House or The Sweetness from the same albums, as those two are perfect for acoustic renditions. The fact he even played The Middle at all is a nice enough surprise.
  Although originally not knowing what to think of seeing an acoustic set of songs I am not all too familiar with, Jim Adkins deserved a much bigger audience tonight as it was definitely worth going. Hopefully, anyone who came here tonight just to hear The Middle also absorbed his writing brilliance and were then compelled to look through the band's back catalogue. His solo work is also impressive but I'm not too sure if it's anything I'd want to strictly follow. This was definitely a show for Jimmy Eat World super fans but anyone who appreciates when structured songs and a faultless performance, he is worth checking out.


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