When Philadelphia punk band Beach Slang opened for emo pioneers Jimmy Eat World at the Bluebird on Tuesday night, ‘90s nostalgia was in full effect.
“Here’s some guys you said I look like,” Beach Slang frontman James Alex said to the audience in a break between songs.
“A happier Billy Corgan if he had hair, Robert Smith, the singer from My Chemical Romance, Beetlejuice getting married,” he listed.
Noticeably inebriated and wearing a torn sports jacket and bow tie, he read the names from a road-worn and tattered list.
For how long Alex had been keeping track of names shouted out at him by audience members was unclear.
Beach Slang played a number of incomplete covers of ‘90s hits. Among the bands represented: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lit and Oasis. A facsimile of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” followed.
But that song wasn’t the last time the ghosts of rock and pop past would be summoned to the stage. Alt-rock elder statesmen Jimmy Eat World went on shortly after.
Though the band played a mix of new songs from its latest record, 2016’s “Integrity Blues,” Jimmy Eat World also trotted out fan favorites culled from their two-decade career for the sold-out venue’s audience.
The band’s setlist read like a list of classic alternative rock, with power ballads like “Hear You Me” mixing with radio rockers like “Bleed American,” both from the band’s 2001 commercial peak “Bleed American.”
Beach Slang ended their set with self-deprecation.
“You’ve survived 40 minutes of hanging out with a band you’ve never heard of before,” Alex said at the end of his band’s set before walking off stage.
Jimmy Eat World concluded its considerably longer set with an encore, in which they performed a handful of their greatest hits they’d presumably saved for such an occasion.
As audience members sang along to the final couple of songs, it became apparent that nearly everyone at the Bluebird that night was familiar with Jimmy Eat World.
Now they’re familiar with the drunken hijinks of Beach Slang, too.