Published Oct 01, 2004Apparently those seemingly endless months of touring behind their 2001 Bleed American disc served this quartet of road warriors well. This one-off warm-up show in advance of a European tour to support their Futures disc was the type of gig we don't get to see bands like this do enough of. Playing to a packed house of "in the know" kids, who were astute enough to score tickets through the band's web site, and a few star struck radio-station ticket winners, the Mesa, Arizona poster boys for emo-pop revelled in the heat and sweat of this too-infrequent intimate show for more than 70 minutes. Drawing on the entirety of their catalogue, the show served as an opportunity to both road test the new material and reward fans with gems from their past. Older JEW classics like "No Sensitivity," "Thinking, That's All" and "Lucky Denver Mint" were wedged in between more recent fare from Bleed American. A telling sign that this was an informed crowd was the fact that "The Middle," the band's break-out hit from BA, was no better received than anything else in the set, including the new songs. Despite the show being more than a month before the official release of Futures, fans sang along like they'd owned it for months. You see, Internet piracy has its benefits after all. It all made for an exhilarating live experience that took me back to a sweaty 1997 club gig where they opened for and blew away the Promise Ring. It also reminded me of how unimpressed I was with a post-success amphitheatre performance. It's unfortunate we don't get to see bands like this in settings like this more often. They really are so much better when up close and personal.