Sun God 2011: Jimmy Eat World

    Chances are, one of those bands was Jimmy Eat World — Arizona’s own ceaselessly lovelorn, alt-pop powerhouse.

    Glistening radio singles like “The Middle” and “Pain” — driven by frontman Jim Adkins’ bittersweet belting — pinpointed that distinct combination of angst, uncertainty and unshakable longing that colors early adolescence. And as we’ve grown older, Jimmy Eat World’s teary-eyed anthems have formed a hand-me-down soundtrack for an new generation of restless American tweens.

    “I think that’s cool,” drummer/co-founder Zach Lind said in an interview with the Guardian. “We never really try to target any specific demographic. We just do what’s intuitive and try to sound like who we are, instead of, like, ‘Oh, we want to make a record that sounds like the Strokes. Let’s do that.’ I think that’s what gives us the ability to attract such different age groups.”

    The band’s range has lent itself to enviable success. While the Taking Back Sundays and Get Up Kids of yesteryear have slowly faded from Top-40 relevance, Jimmy Eat World arrive at this year’s Sun God on the heels of their seventh studio album, the critically- acclaimed Invented.

    “This time around, we really focused on relying on our own intu- ition as a band,” Lind said. “We struggled finding the right person to produce Invented, and then we had the idea to work with [Clarity and Bleed American producer] Mark Trombino. It worked out really well.”

    Thousands of sweaty, sun-baked festivalgoers might agree. Between their debut appearance at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and their scheduled headlining slot at England’s legendary Glastonbury Festival, Jimmy Eat World’s teen-tapping has paid off.

    “We had never played Coachella before, and that was always a goal of ours,” Lind said. “It’s still always a huge thrill to play those big festivals that we’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of.”

    This year’s Sun God Festival won’t be J.E.W.’s first experience on campus. Before the platinum-selling albums and sold-out stadium shows, the godfathers of second wave emo got their start peeling paint off the walls of the Southwest’s more lovably dingy venues, including UCSD’s own Che Café.

    “We played the Che a handful of times in the mid-to-late ’90s,” Lind said. “It’s such a cool place. It’s always so nice to have something like that where bands can come play.”

    But a quick bit of advice for this year’s festival attendees: don’t be deceived by all the uplifting lyrics and unbridled sensitivity. At a Jimmy Eat World concert, shit can get real.

    Of the flying debris in the audi- ence during the band’s Coachella performance last month, Lind said: “Yeah, we see that happen a lot, actually. People want to promote their band, so they throw their demo or whatever up to the front. But if those things hit you, it could mean multiple stitches. I saw Davey von Bohlen of the Promise Ring get hit with a little jewel case, and it totally sliced his face.”

    So whether you’ve come to bask in the sweet sound of nostalgia or drunkenly fist-pump to your favorite guilty pleasure, remember: try hold- ing that death-wish raging at a low simmer, and please, for the love of God, keep those concealed bottles to yourself.

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