If You Me at Six were of a darker disposition the welcoming screams would be terrifying – the impatience is victim to its own consequence as Josh Francheschi is apparently a fan of large crowds screaming at him waving ‘Josh Marry me’ banners and swarms of girls in bras. There’s no blaming him, day one brings a stunning crowd of both genders all hungry for a healthy dose of pop-punk from the local boys-turned-stars. After some basking time, ‘Loverboy’ breaks the spell with instant power, inciting streams of mini-congas to thread through to the epicentre of Reading festival.
Josh is given the freedom to be centre of attention by all other band members who stay cool and poised, also taking in the atmosphere but unselfishly enjoying vibe. ‘The Swarm’ is a venture of joint effort, with Francheschi and the heaving crowd goading each other on as the leather skull-stamped jacket is ditched and the Surrey born star leaps across the stage, stopping to feign hurt where appropriate and immediately betraying his playful personality with beaming white grins. It’s utterly infections and under blue and yellow stripes of light even the most basic raise of a microphone stand ignites the party like a bucket of paraffin on a BBQ.
Amidst ‘Little Death’ the festival shenanigans are well underway with fans standing upright on shoulders of others, an act that is encouraged to the point that an enclosure of head-height feet prevails. The mood skews to thundering bass and a rough, scrubbing guitar overlay in ‘Stay With Me’, caramelised with gentle vocals that trickle through and begin to steadily gather into a steady pool until hand gestures encourage the crowd to build in lyrical repetition, giving new strength to the melodic up-climb gaining depth and strength whilst simultaneously distancing from the masses. In some personal victory Francheschi again whips up the crowds, seemingly for his own entertainment.
After some contemplation, held stares and visible thoughtfulness Francheschi proposes each member of the audience removes and item of clothing and waves it through the air to ‘Sinners Never Sleep’. No further encouragement is needed and as the tempo increases so does the speed of spinning in what looks like a monster sized Persil advert. The end of the crowd brings with the end of the washing cycle and a half naked crowd adorn the screens.
‘Reckless’ does little to bring serenity and ‘Underdog’ signals a nearing closure, intensifying the excitement for final track ‘Bite My Tongue’. Now the band are a throughly sweaty mass as they deliver a neatly embedded sharp dose of metal to achieve exactly what they set out to do – “Go out with mayhem”.
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