Jimmy Eat World, Sparta, Cave-In

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A few weeks ago I called the Lenny Kravitz/Pink/Abandoned Pools show that stopped in at the Smirnoff Music Centre the summer's most cynically assembled package tour. That was an easy call--it was August, and anyone hitting the road with Kravitz obviously isn't hankering for a slam-bang set of rock and roll night after night. But now I'm gonna go out on a limb and call Friday's triple bill at the Bronco Bowl autumn's big cash-in: Massachusetts prog-metallers Cave-In, Arizona emo-popsters Jimmy Eat World and ex-At the Drive-In members Sparta don't share much in common outside of freshly minted major-label contracts and a burgeoning MTV2 cachet. Which on one level is a fine-enough reason for bands to play together, certainly if fans of one might dig another--that OK Go/Vines show that came through town in July, say, where hipsters down enough to wanna see the Vines could get an advance peek at Capitol Records' next group of dressed-down lifestyle-rockers. But Cave-In's long-winded, solo-stoked tone poems pretty much stand across the cafeteria from Jimmy Eat World's increasingly concise pop songs, and Sparta's new one is so workmanlike even Lifehouse fans are in danger of getting bored. It's not that they're not similar; it's that these established bands probably wouldn't be touring together were it not for a trend-specific cross-marketing opportunity. Live it up.

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