Punks, parents, and lovers of Jimmy Eat World wrapped around the block outside the Velvet Jones earlier this week — an impressive feat for any show taking place on a Monday night. Fans from all over Southern California had packed into the venue to see Jim Adkins, singer of world-famous emo outfit Jimmy Eat World perform an acoustic show for under $15.
The show kicked off at 9 p.m. with an acoustic performance from members of the alternative band Reubens Accomplice. Jeff Bufano (vocals, guitar) and Chris Corak (vocals, guitar) filled their set with original tracks played and sung by both bandmembers, who struggled through a few mic feedback screams and minor sound issues along the way. Between songs, the band chatted up members of the audience as if they were playing an open mic at a local coffee shop and not opening for a platinum-selling artist at a sold-out venue. About halfway through their set, Adkins joined the band to perform a few passionately harmonized renditions of some of Reubens Accomplice’s songs.
Following the pair’s 45-minute set, Adkins took the stage again, this time as the headlining act. The singer packed his set with a mix of acoustic renditions of relatively obscure Jimmy Eat World songs to demo songs to emotive covers of Cyndi Lauper, The Magnetic Fields, and even Rihanna. Tears glistened on the cheeks of diehard fans during performances of “Big Casino” and “For Me This is Heaven.” Though his musical performance was passionate, inspired, and even tear-jerking at times, his engagement with the audience felt somewhat less affected. While Adkins posed for a picture or two, the performance itself felt a little one-sided. Fans sang along to every song, but there was little emotional engagement between the singer and the crowd. The front row screamed for Adkins to play the Jimmy Eat World song “23” until their voices were hoarse, but to no avail. Still, most fans were just happy to see the musician perform such an evocative set of songs at such an intimate event — even if the setlist was predetermined.