With a reputation over the years for being a dull live band, Jimmy Eat World were pretty chipper during their mid-day set at Victoria's Rock the Shores. Hitting the stage at an unfathomable 2:45 p.m., the Arizona emo rock mainstays played with headlining-like precision and confidence, covering key material from their previous four albums, Futures, Bleed American, Chase This Light and Invented, as well as a trio of new songs from their recently-released Damage. What many believe to be Jimmy Eat World's quintessential release, 1999's Clarity, was only hinted at with one track, "Lucky Denver Mint," but their later material fared just as well.
Vocalist/guitarist Jim Adkins bustled with nervous energy and boyish charm (I'm sure he's sick of hearing that), while guitarist Tom Linton, bassist Rick Burch and drummer Zach Lind had an understated swagger to them that some mistook for boredom. The band's double shot of "Work" and "Kill," from Futures, was pure emo magic on stage, but strangely enough it was their rocked-out cover of Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" that brought the festival crowd to their feet. For a band that's made their career out of writing songs about the broken-hearted, it made perfect sense for Jimmy Eat World to bust out the ultimate tween-love-lost anthem.
Festival organizers got massive egg-faces when the main sound feed cut in and out multiple times during the poppy "Coffee and Cigarettes," leading the band to halt the song only a verse and a chorus in, Adkins handling it well by joking, "We meant to do that!" The stage-managing gods rewarded Jimmy Eat World a bit later by extending their set by two songs. And, yes, they finished their impressive Victoria festival appearance with their two biggest hits, "Sweetness" and "The Middle," which was predictable and quite satisfying.