Review of You Me At Six @ Oakland Metro Operahouse | Words and Photos by Katie Snodgrass
Pop punk/rock act YOU ME AT SIX is on a roll in their home country with their January, 2014 release Cavalier Youth peaking at #1 on the UK charts. After four increasingly successful albums and recent festival slots at Leeds and Reading, they’re finally getting some attention here in the U.S. with their Room to Breathe single and have taken the show on the road with a tour of small clubs which offers the perfect opportunity for that “I saw them when …” story because, with their catchy hooks and persistence, they’re bound to break here as well. And soon.
YOU ME AT SIX hit Oakland’s Metro Operahouse this past Thursday and three hours before the doors opened there was already a line out front (predominantly made up of those that opted to spend that few extra bucks on the VIP experience) where they passed their time excitedly conversing with friends and some even doing their night’s homework. After what seemed like an excruciatingly long wait, the VIP’s were admitted into the building and ushered to the front where singer Josh Franceschi was waiting with the rest of the band. Josh started with some small-talk, admitting he was sick and inviting the jittery fans to move even closer so that they could better hear him. The band played three songs from their new album and Josh invited the fans to help out at times when it hurt too much to sing. After the acoustic session, the fans received autographs and pictures with the band members before sitting in on the band’s sound check. Afterwards, they were reluctantly sent outside to once again wait in line and, by the glow on the kids’ faces when they exited the VIP session, the subsequent wait for the doors to open was going to be a particularly long one.
Finally, after hours of waiting for those early arrivers, YOU ME AT SIX came out on stage, the crowd screaming so loud that they were probably louder than the band itself as they quickly jumped into their first song, Too Young To Feel This Old. Even before Franceschi started singing, the crowd stirred with recognition of the song, and due to Franceschi’s illness, it was easier to hear the crowd than it was to hear him. The crowd filled up no more than half the venue, but that didn’t stop the band from performing their very best. Franceschi continuously interacted with those lucky enough to be in the front … taking their hats, having conversations, and even prompting a couple to kiss during Cold Night. Even though at times Josh had to take some breaks from singing, gesturing to the crowd to sing for him, no song was lacked his passion and energy.
Despite Franceschi’s illness, he was able to keep his energy and expressiveness throughout the concert. During Forgive and Forget, Josh asked everyone to do their best “Kanye West impression,” and continued to show off a few of those moves himself, amusing the crowd greatly. The band certainly didn’t leave out any aspects that go into creating a great concert. Franceschi took some time between songs to talk to the crowd, especially to express his regret for wearing a maroon t-shirt, in which you could see all of his sweat (followed by many girls in the crowd telling him to take it off), resulting in his exclamation that black was his new favorite color. Josh then begun to talk about how at Leeds and Reading Festivals, they had the ‘crazy idea’ to ask people to take off an item of clothing and swing it around in the air during one of their more popular songs, Reckless, off their album Sinners Never Sleep. Luckily, it wasn’t just in the UK that the band asks crowds to do this; when the first few notes of the song started, Josh excitedly asked the audience “Who wants to get naked!?” These five words were followed by excited screams, and soon enough, shirts, hats, bracelets, and many more items of clothing were quickly removed and in the air, so by the time Franceschi began singing, almost everyone had taken something off. The crowd stood, singing along and waiting for the cue to swing their clothes around in the air. Finally, just before the first chorus, the cue came: “Swing it loud and proud!” The crowd erupted. Almost everyone was jumping up and down, swinging around their clothing, and aiding Josh in singing the song. The crowd’s high energy coupled with Franceschi’s ability to have fun even in front of the smallest of crowds made for a small and intimate concert that their fans surely won’t forget.
After Reckless, to the dismay of their fans, the band retreated back stage. Instantly the room went silent. A minute passed and nothing happened. The crowd just stood waiting. Finally, someone began the plea …. “One more song! One more song! One more song!” They chanted this over and over in unison, rising in volume and power as people joined in one by one. After what seemed like forever, the band ran back on stage, and began to play the first notes of one of their edgier songs, Bite My Tongue. The crowd erupted with screams, and joined in, singing the song so strongly that once again, Franceschi was overpowered. A mosh-pit soon formed, which seemed to give Josh even more power for his vocals. When it came to the screamo part of the song, which on the album was sung by Oli Sykes (Bring me the Horizon), Franceschi quickly muttered “There’s no way in hell I can do this part tonight.” But, with some urging from his expectant fans, he was able to sing that part after all.
Finally, it came time for the band’s last song of the night. The crowd buzzed with anticipation; each person having a different idea on which song it would be. Josh, sensing the anticipation in the crowd, decided to give them one more memorable moment, asking, “If I go down and sing the last song in there, is it going to f*** everything up? Thumbs up or thumbs down?” The crowd screamed and excitedly exclaimed to their friends. Josh soon followed, saying “I think it’ll be alright.” Franceschi then ran backstage and into the middle of the crowd where everyone quickly formed a tight circle around him. For the final song of the night, he sang in the middle of a crowd of adoring fans, occasionally handing them the mic so they could sing for everyone to hear. With reluctance, Josh made it back up to the stage with the rest of his band, bowed, and with a final goodbye, left to return backstage.
YOU ME AT SIX will be touring the US through the end of October. Check out the link below for all of their scheduled dates so you can say, “I saw them when …”
- Too Young To Feel This Old
- Stay With Me
- The Consequence
- Little Death
- Forgive and Forget
- Room to Breathe
- Cold Night
- Bite My Tongue
- Fresh Start Fever
- Lived a Lie
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