They trot onstage so briskly that the lights hadn't yet properly dimmed and the PA music was still blaring away, and what followed was a fine display of no-frills, unshowy rock music. This was the performance of a tight group who've been playing for two decades, and understand how to build a set.
That didn't mean the early flurries were lacking in quality. The Arizona quartet may still be best known for 2001's The Middle single but they have been steady with their output since then, and dropped in tracks from each of their eight albums. The most recent of those, Damages, provided some of the evening's most bone-crunching numbers and while Appreciation was too heavily straightforward in its sound, the rousing No, Never showed they've not lost their way with melody.
There was little chat from singer Jim Adkins in a set which ploughed through 25 numbers in rapid-fire fashion. Yet what was impressive was how smoothly everything clicked together, and for all the band's lyrics can shoot for the heart with emotion, there were some wicked grooves in there too, with drummer Zach Lind giving My Best Theory a strutting beat and The Authority Song a clap-happy backdrop.
There was enough shade delivered by the dreamy acoustics of Hear You Me and Heart Is Hard To Find's strum-a-long to provide respite, but the core remained euphoric rock, and matters swelled triumphantly on a huge Always Be and a version of Sweetness that provoked bedlam.
Strangely, the encore started slowly, before The Middle displayed the group at their polished, catchy best.