Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
The American babysitting industry won’t soon see another year like 2008, when a wave of iconic Gen-X bands—Built to Spill, My Bloody Valentine, Gray Matter—reformed and lured their increasingly creaky fans back into nightclubs. The intent wasn’t to show that artistic vitality knows no age. These bands performed cherished albums, in their entirety, live. This goes against all the rules of rock, of course: LPs and set lists are invariably sequenced differently; experiencing an album like it was a movie throws the ratio of deep cuts to hits way out of whack. But it’s less problematic with an album like Jimmy Eat World‘s Clarity. Released in 1999, two years before the Arizona band brought emo-rock to a wide audience with hit singles like “The Middle” and “A Praise Chorus,” Clarity is best heard start to finish, and it sparked a generation of Nirvana fans’ little brothers and sisters to harness their disappointment and ride forth into the mainstream. As Chris Carrabba‘s accountant can attest, that boom eventually went bust, but maybe emo makes more sense as a footnote anyway—measured pessimism gets less charming with age, and now that Jimmy Eat World is performing Clarity live in its entirety, lyrics like “And with pride keep every failure in/And with pride hold on to your thinking” have an unexpected plangency for emo kids navigating the rocky shoals of their 30s. And if that doesn’t make you feel better about the fact that one of your favorite albums came out 10 years ago, just remember that at least you’re not paying to see Hey Mercedes perform a rock opera. Yet. JIMMY EAT WORLD PERFORMS CLARITY TONIGHT AT 9:30 AT THE 9:30 CLUB, 815 V ST. NW. SOLD OUT.