Show Experience: Jimmy Eat World and Pronoun at Higher Ground

The moment I saw the pre-sale tickets for Jimmy Eat World on Facebook, I knew November 13, 2019 was going to be a special night. It didn’t disappoint!

There was still snow on the ground from Burlington’s first storm of the season, and it was definitely too cold to be standing outside in nothing but a Boston Manor T-shirt and yellow flannel an hour before doors. Still, my boyfriend, Derek, and I slipped our way across the icy parking lot to be the first in line for the show, no coat-check required. Stupid? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely.

When the doors opened, we made a beeline for the open front row, where a hulking bass amp proclaimed the opening band’s name in bright neon lettering a mere four feet from our post.

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[All images courtesy of Derek Mann]
Although the show started half an hour late according to the set time printed on the ticket, it was worth the wait. Pronoun, the first band, was a much-needed reminder to never underestimate the opening band.

According to her Wikipedia bio, Pronoun is actually just a one-woman project by Alyse Vellturo. Touring with a band, Pronoun is an indie/synth show that you don’t want to miss.

Wispy, aerated vocals joined crunchy basslines and snappy percussion in a symphony of sound greater than the three jumpsuit-clad people on stage should have been able to make alone. The energy and fullness within every measure was contributed by every member of the band, creating a cohesive unit throughout the show.

Since I was situated right in front of the bassist, it was easy to focus on what he was up to for most of the set. Unfortunately for him, he had a bit of a rough start with a wavering cable connection, broken input jack, and a borrowed bass that one of the Higher Ground staff members magically conjured in the nick of time. Once he got used to the new instrument, the bassist was ready to impress with a mix of finger-picking and pick skills, giving each track a different feel based on his methods.

Because of my proximity to the bass and its gritty, booming tones, the guitar lines didn’t stand out as much,  but its spacey, light tone matching the airiness of the vocals built up the high end a bit.

Throughout the set, the percussion was firm, methodical kick drum beats making each track feel fuller and adding a few sandy hits of the hi-hat and cymbals.

One track that stood out in particular from their set was “Run.” The track featured unrelenting percussion, crisp-yet-muddy bass tone thanks to pick-snapping eighth notes, and plenty of energy. The transitions between instrumental sections and verses/choruses of the song were smooth, giving emphasis to white space as much as lyrics. The tempo shifts were well-orchestrated by the drummer, giving “Run” a feeling of dynamism even when dragging.

When Pronoun was finished with their set, I didn’t want them to be. What else can you ask for in a good show?

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Jimmy Eat World is a band that needs no introduction. If you don’t know who they are, you likely have been living under a rock for the past twenty years—or have terrible music taste. Why are you even here?

I had planned on reviewing Jimmy Eat World’s set like I had with Pronoun’s, but I decided very quickly that they were a live act that shouldn’t be described: You have to experience everything for yourself in order to truly experience its power.

And powerful it was. I’ve been to hundreds of shows in my lifetime so far, but none made me feel like Jimmy Eat World. Everything about the experience was magical. My first favorite band was on the stage, four feet in front of me, singing words I clung to as I grew up, words I cling to even today. And everyone else in the audience felt it, too.

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The crowd was the most respectful I had ever been a part of. The person heckling was a very drunk man who thanked  the band for coming—nobody even requested Free Bird! I retained my spot on the rail the entire show without any effort, and there was a spot open beside Derek that someone could have squeezed into, but nobody even seemed to think of invading his space at all. Because I didn’t have to worry about getting an elbow to the head or the barricade shoved into my ribs, the show itself became even more enjoyable.

The band played the perfect mix of old songs and new, their energy never fading despite their lengthy set list. The night flew by, leaving me with a sense of peace unlike anything I have ever felt after a show. It also left me with a set list and two guitar picks!

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Even if Jimmy Eat World isn’t your absolute favorite band in the world, please consider going to see them anyway. I can’t promise it will change your life, but it certainly did change mine.

Check out my other show experiences below:

Show Experience: Boston Manor With Makeshift & Suburban Zombie
Show Experience: The Road to Muñoz-Stock
Show Experience: Young the Giant & Sure Sure
Show Experience: Strange Machines/Adventure Dog/Wiley Griffin

 

 

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