Show Review: Jimmy Eat World and Incubus at Austin360

by Dylan Garsee

Photos by Casey Holder

The pairing of Incubus and Jimmy Eat World makes sense on paper. Both bands are saddled with the hanging albatross of a kitschy turn of the millennium anthem that became ubiquitous as well as a handful of radio rock hits that slightly more in-the-know fans love. But Incubus are basically critic proof, headlining and selling out arenas across the country to hordes of fans while Jimmy Eat World are stuck between a rock and a hard place. To most audiences, Jimmy Eat World are either just another Aughts nostalgia act or Fischer-Price pop-punk- their set at Austin360 Amphitheater was proof they deserve better.

Jimmy Eat World leaned heavily on Bleed American/Futures/Integrity Blues, with every other album getting a one track nod. The band is as tight and earnest as they have ever been, and their optimism is proof that emo can sustain throughout adulthood and beyond; too many bands of similar ilk grew cynical but Jimmy Eat World grew up. Jimmy Eat World’s new songs were a revelation live, somehow topping the recorded cuts of the slept-on Integrity Blues. “Pass the Baby,” for instance, is a sludgy dirge that devolves into an almost Sonic Youth-like noise jam and was met with boisterous applause.

Deeper cuts like fan favorite ballad “Hear You Me” prompted one of my favorite live concert experiences of all time. Hearing a disparate choir of fans singing along transformed the energy of the amphitheater into an almost campfire sing along- a beautifully cathartic moment by a band that is secretly important to a huge swath of people. Finally with the closing trilogy of “A Praise Chorus,” “Sweetness,” and “The Middle,” the band had the entire venue stand up and rock out, for lack of a better term. They had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, and for a brief moment Jimmy Eat World was on top of the world.

Then Incubus started and judging by the crowd response it was as if the goddamned Beatles walked on stage. I’m honestly not very familiar with their catalogue, only hits like “Drive,” “Pardon Me,” “Anna Molly,” and “Dig.” But every one in the crowd was passionately singing along with their hands in the air. It was like going to a friend’s church service when you were younger- familiar to everyone but you and also kind of creepy.

Incubus was emotive yet charmless, playing song after song to an adoring crowd, stopping to cover Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” to rapturous response. I don’t want to say they were bad because selling out an amphitheater this far into your career is a feat unto itself. It’s just that Incubus belongs firmly in the category of “Not For Me.” And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Dylan Garsee is a freelance writer/bingo enthusiast currently living in Austin, TX. He is a writer for and a member of the Loser City collective and used to avoid reading comics while writing for Comics Bulletin. Dylan is also the host of The Gayme Show at Coldtowne Theatre, where he kidnaps straight people and makes them compete for the honor of being converted into the second gayest person in Austin (the first, of course, being Dylan). You can follow him on Twitter, where he horrifies celebrities as @garseed.