A rare gig where we took the train, as the old motor was still in the garage! So we got the 6 pm to London amidst all the rainclouds and gloomy weather. Hit the Astoria at 7.30 sharp, only to find queues reaching all around the block! Eventually got in, after 20 minutes wait under a heavy and foreboding sky, but barely had time to get our bearings before da Food came on, just before 8 pm!
So, Rachel and I piled into the moshpit for their opener, the acerbic "Western Battle", with David as ever yelping like a scalded cat. The amphetamine rush of "Guntrip" was up next, with the boys (and girl) struggling manfully with the poor sound quality but still giving a performance of tension and energy.
"Are you ready for Jimmy?" asked David before an impromptu acoustic version of the first verse of "Salt Sweat Sugar", which drove the very young Emo kids wild - a shame that they didn't react to da 'Food's own stuff in such an enthusiastic way! "Folk Song Crisis", with the white noise interlude evoking memories of Bob Mould's similar wig-out on that very stage some 13 years ago, capped an indifferent-sounding but as ever dynamic and energetic set.
Nipped up to the balcony for Jimmy Eat World's set, as the dancefloor was heaving! The Phoenix, AZ. boys came on promptly at 9 pm, no fuss, and hooked straight into the punkish rush of "Salt Sweat Sugar", the excellent insistent single from last year, with the most dynamic middle eight of any 2001 song. An equally good "A Praise Chorus" followed to rapturous applause, and at this point you got the feeling that this was no ordinary gig, but a real defining event. However, I have to report that the gig drifted for me a little after that, with the boys delving into the more angular, difficult and edgy post-grunge of their previous 2 albums, rather than the instantly catchy emotive pop-punk of their current incarnation. I took a wander as well, bumping (predictably) into Kevin Seafood and (not so predictably!) Som from My Vitriol!
JEW ended their set with an unfamiliar yet more straightforward punky number, then encored with "The Middle", Jim Adkins exhorting the crowd to, "like this one because you like it," and the brilliant "Sweetness", with its' "Velvet Roof"-esque rhythmic base and excellent running hook. So, first and last the best for me, but a set full of promise for greater things! And an early gig too - off at 10.15, bumping into old sparring partner Jim Morrison (Carter USM/ Jamie Wednesday) and his daughter Holly on the way out of the venue, and on the 11.00 train home! With KFC too!