JIMMY EAT WORLD // Slam Dunk Festival 2018
Bringing over 60 acts across 8 stages, the biggest pop-punk extravaganza Slam Dunk Festival returned to Leeds, Hatfield and Birmingham.
On Sunday the hordes of music enthusiasts descended onto Hatfield to experience the madness that is Slam Dunk Festival. Having outgrown its former home, the University of Hertfordshire, the UK’s biggest independent rock festival took place at Hatfield Park setting the bar high for all the years to follow. Showcasing a diverse plethora of artists, from hardcore metal themes to softer poppy offerings, there was something for everyone. Even the weather decided to turn its course.
Heavily influenced by the nostalgic feeling, this year’s Slam Dunk was dominated by many pop-punk heroes and rock legends. From Four Year Strong to Taking Back Sunday, to Goldfinger, we were graced with an explosive (literally) set from the all time favourites Good Charlotte. And there were Jimmy Eat World, of course.
The band that has been beloved and treasured by many, appeased both to old school fans as well as younger generation. With a catalogue of works that still grasp, impress and resonate with the crowds, Jimmy Eat World delivered a headlining performance that will be cherished and remembered for a long time.
Topping the bill on the Monster Energy Main Stage, the band kicked things off with crushing guitars of Bleed American. The frantic chorus quickly bounced back and forth as the audience joined their voices for a massive singalong. It was really hard to believe that that was their debut Slam Dunk appearance.
Jimmy Eat World are an outstanding live act, there’s no doubt about that. Their performance skills fall sharp and precise, and Jim Adkins’s vocals play on our heartstrings time after time. With nine studio albums in their catalogue, and new material being released this year, they still surprise while conveying a sense of comfort and belonging.
Thriving on their signature blend of infectious rhythmic and melodic sensibility, Sure And Certain hit us with its swaying steady chorus, whilst Big Casino and Always Be transported us back into the world of their 2007’s album Chase This Light. With the crowd singing back every word, it felt like a very special moment.
Underlying their sonic diversity, Jimmy Eat World dropped an emotional bomb – the stunning track Hear You Me – an acoustic ballad that made the whole field lit up with mobile flashing lights. Yet another tear-jerker, 23 continued to amplify the melancholia setting up a more sentimental mood.
Elsewhere in the set, we got a taste of the band’s brand new music in the form of their latest single Love Never, which is a dynamic and direct surge of emotions powered by giant guitars. And it already sounds like classic Jimmy Eat World.
The Authority Song was another rhythmic perfection led by firm drums, Futures and Work struck with electrifying guitars and chant-like sequences. The old school 1999’s gems such as Lucky Denver Mint and Blister were the ultimate blast from the past, and frankly every song they played seemed like a fan favourite.
Accompanied by lightnings and thunder storm hanging over the park, Jimmy Eat World rounded their set off with the absolute bangers Sweetness and The Middle. Everyone knew this was going to happen, yet we all were waiting impatiently for those two tracks to hit the ether. Purely satisfying in every possible way.
Jimmy Eat World are one of those bands that effortlessly bring joy to your life. Teenage heroes for many, myself including, and yet a new band to be discovered by the younger lot. With relatable piercing lyricism and anthemic hooks, the musical landscape looks so much better with them in the picture.
Judging on their fresh material, it’s fair to say that Jimmy Eat World are back full force. More importantly, they have never left.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka