BY JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
What a night for live music.
On a foggy, rainy Sunday night, August 13, 2023, in Minneapolis, Jimmy Eat World and co-headliner Manchester Orchestra converged to perform one of the most memorable shows I’ve seen since moving here to the Twin Cities a few months ago. Oh, right…in one of the most stunning venues I’ve had the pleasure to photograph in too. Seriously, if you haven’t caught a show at The Armory yet…just…wow.
This marks a “hat trick” for me when it comes to Jimmy Eat World (an honor also shared by Sleeping With Sirens and Kellen Quinn is like…hella excited about that news by the way), and having caught them in as many cities as I’ve now covered them, it’s safe to say that they are one of the most consistent acts you can find. While their lighting has gotten moodier over the years, the production quality remains the same, if not somewhat elevated, each time they take the stage. But we’ll get to these fellas in a moment.
Middle Kids played first, an award-winning indie rock band from Sydney, Australia. Comprised of vocalist and guitarist Hannah Joy, Harry Day on the drums and backing vocals, and Tim Fitz on bass and backing vocals. Their set started with a touch of melancholy, but they really picked it up towards the end of their set. The audience responded favorably to Middle Kids, and if you listened, you could hear several hundred concert-goers singing back and singing along as you made your way through the ever filling venue.
Jimmy Eat World followed and they delivered a spectacular performance as usual. The fellas from Phoenix just keep getting more elaborate as time rolls on. They took the stage in commanding fashion and immediately opened with “Pain,” followed immediately by “Just Tonight,” and “The Sweetness.” The packed house sang in unison with vocalist Jim Adkins who took early control of the audience. “Oh, you guys decided to have some fun tonight before you left the house, didn’t ya?” he egged on the audience. “Well, let’s see how much fun we can have!”
They continued to play hit after hit from their storied career, including “555,” “Bleed American,” and “Big Casino.” One of the best parts of the night came when they were about halfway through their ballad “Hear You Me,” where Adkins instructed the audience to raise their phone lights, which the fans were eager to oblige. Blacked out and illuminated only by the light of a thousand tiny lights was certainly a sight to behold.
Last but not least was Manchester Orchestra. These guys know how to light a show!
I mean…not for us photographers, but from a spectator perspective, this show easily could’ve been a top 10. You could tell that there was a lot of thought to creating the perfect experience for their fan base. Yes, their music deals with some heavy shit, and it’s no less important for the atmosphere to reflect those sentiments.
I know there’s a joke somewhere about a devil and these folks being from Georgia, but there isn’t much that’s more hauntingly beautiful than Andy Hull’s voice live filled with a room full of strangers, all singing along at both full volume and in whispers. It was a magnificent performance, especially as you could see guitarist Robert McDowell and bassist Andy Prince really getting into it as they swayed from side to side to the delight of the thousands of fans.
If you ever get the chance to get to The Armory for a concert – please go. This place is hands down one of the coolest venues I’ve ever shot in, and I’ve shot in quite a few. They’ve got an incredible kitchen, a huge drink menu, TONS of space (like…three floors), and a super unique atmosphere. The staff is great, attentive and very friendly, so thanks to all of you who worked so hard to make this such a special experience.
As always, please wear deodorant, stay hydrated, and be excellent to each other. We’ll catch ya at the next show!
Jimmy Eat World