Sure and Certain, Jimmy Eat World Live is Still Pure Sweetness

Photos by Kamara Morozuk

“It could have been a night like any other,” sang Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins on “Always Be”. The cut came at the midway point to a night the Arizona pop-punk rockers probably hope doesn’t repeat itself any time soon. Well, at least part of it anyway.

Currently touring for their ninth full-length album, Integrity Blues, the band swung into the Algonquin Commons Theatre to play for a crowd that seemed to be split right down, and you’ll excuse the pun, The Middle. Though the bands local accumulation of older fans were packing the seats, Adkins discovered a huge contingent in the audience were seeing the band for the first time when conducting a poll of those gathered. The younger set in the college crowd shouldn’t have been too surprising. They were, after all, performing at a college.

Nostalgia alone wasn’t going to win over this audience with so many in the crowd not able to walk let alone rock during the band’s late 90s/early 2000s glory days. Still, the quartet did well to capture the newcomers by feeding off the energy of the long time loyals.

The show began with the serenity of a woodland Spring walk, slow, relaxing, as the band kicked things off with “You With Me”, a tune from the more recent release, before upsetting that opening calm with the squeal of multiple guitars on “Bleed American”. By the time the third track (“I Will Steal You Back”) cut into the crowd it was clear those who knew the words were going to make it a very vocal evening.

The band dipped early into material from Clarity, their much acclaimed third release from 1999, with “Lucky Denver Mint” before slowing things down with the crowd pleasing “Hear You Me” which had at least one rambunctious fan attempting to inciting those around him to not just sing the words back to Adkins but scream them as though their lives depended on it.   The guitar rock would continue with 2007’s “Big Casino” before things quickly went south.

Technical difficulties struck about ten songs into the set when Adkins guitar suddenly went silent. He took it in stride, however, telling the crowd how he’s never really understood bands who come unhinged when this kind of stuff happens.

“Most of the times it’s little things that you can’t notice and if you’re an audience all of a sudden the singer is just throwing a chair at the drummer,” he said stepping back to let the stage crew at the wiring. Attempts at patches initially proved futile causing one member of the crowd to offer his own fix:

“Drum solo!”

Drummer Zach Lind may have been happy to oblige but Adkins opted to fill the ever widening gap in the show by talking about how he finally got to tour Ottawa that morning having been resigned to stages and hotel rooms on previous visits to the Capital.

“You come to a town and you get to stay in one area and, really, that becomes your image of what that place is but today I got downtown here. I’ve never been there. It’s cool. There’s a lot more going on in Ottawa than I thought there was,” said Adkins covering for the not much going on on stage.

After about ten minutes his guitar finally showed some life and Adkins promised to make up for the down time in the final half what would be a 25 song show. Come the triple shot in the encore of hits “The Middle”, “Sure and Certain” and “Sweetness” the mid-show lag was more than forgotten as the band showed there was still a lot left in the tank the first filled two decades ago.


  1. You With Me
  2. Bleed American
  3. I Will Steal You Back
  4. Get Right
  5. Lucky Denver Mint
  6. Hear You Me
  7. My Best Theory
  8. Big Casino
  9. If You Don’t, Don’t
  10. Pass The Baby
  11. Just Tonight
  12. Blister
  13. It Matters
  14. For Me This Is Heaven
  15. Always Be
  16. You Are Free
  17. A Praise Chorus
  18. The Authority Song
  19. Let It Happen
  20. 23
  21. Work
  22. Pain


23. The Middle
24. Sure and Certain
25. Sweetness