Good Band, Wrong Festival

Jimmy Eat World were always going to be an odd choice Download full stop but putting them on the main stage on the last day, high up on the bill just begs for a head scratching moment of thought. From the contagiously upbeat optimism of their pop punk to their lead singer who is the closest thing you get to a big cuddly bear without entering a zoo, Jimmy Eat World on paper don’t fit the Download stereotype which is all the more surprising when they actually manage to draw quite a large crowd.

Kicking things off with ‘Big Casino’ the Arizona based band soon have bodies moving in the half hearted June sun as Jim Adkins’ chipper voice resonates across a wave of bopping heads that seem to get more enthusiastic by the time ‘Always Be’ makes its Download debut. Commenting on the shambles of a British summertime, Adkins remarks how they are flying home to the heat of Arizona tomorrow so “I’m going to sleep naked outside tonight and just be freezing”, painting a somewhat unnerving picture that falls flat with the crowd. Indeed by this stage Jimmy Eat World’s bounce has gone, people are leaving to go catch whoever are on the other stages and the main arena is rapidly evaporating as the bands lack of bite loosens its hold on the Download faithful. The snarl of ‘Authority Song’ helps to keep a hold of those contemplating leaving but in the end it is the sinisterly chirpy ‘The Middle’ that closes the set, saving the band in the final stages.

Anywhere else and Jimmy Eat World’s set would have been a triumph but at a festival renowned for its rock ethics, the band just couldn’t hit hard enough to win over everyone. Sadly another case of a good band suffering from being on the wrong bill.