You Me At Six “Takes On the World” Manhattan's Gramercy Theatre Has Surrey's Pop Punk Stalwarts Grace Its Stage
NEW YORK, NY- Josh Franceschi has the sort of voice that can be unleashed in a high-octane howl and harnessed into a gentle rock ballad. It’s a malleability that the frontman employs with great efficacy in VI, the latest offering from Surrey’s You Me At Six. The opening track, “Fast Forward,” tantalizes with a low, pulsing synthesizer before plunging headfirst into the guitars-and-drums combo of Chris Miller and Dan Flint, a hard-charging backdrop for Josh’s anthemic delivery, a sonic equivalent of the lyrical promise: I’ll pour some gasoline on.
It’s an exhilarating start to the album and to the night at Manhattan’s Gramercy Theatre. From the first lines, the capacity crowd was sing-shouting the lyrics back at Josh, front-row fans reaching their hands across the pit to make contact with the beloved frontman.
The pop-rock gem “Lived A Lie” from 2014’s Cavalier Youth was next, the singalong chorus lifting the audience energy to an even-higher level. The setlist leaned toward songs off the latest album but had a healthy dose from across the band’s discography including “Reckless” from Sinners Never Sleep (2011), and the seductive, strutting “Night People,” off the 2017’s album of the same name.
Particularly memorable was the tender “Take On the World,” which Josh introduced with a gentle exhortation to the audience: “Please love each other because we’re all gonna die and be incinerated or whatever, but souls live forever — and this is about the intertwining of souls.” He then asked for the venue lights to be turned down and for fans to hold aloft their phones, transforming the bi-level theatre into a sea of digital fireflies, a scene befitting the achingly pretty, soaring harmonies (comparisons to Coldplay’s “Fix You” would not be amiss).
The interaction between band and audience throughout the night was endearing, between Josh taking selfies with a fan’s phone and his self-deprecatory humor. He asked first-time concertgoers to raise their hands, then apologized to them: “I’m sorry it’s us — you should be seeing Arctic Monkeys or Tame Impala.”
But there was nowhere else the audience wanted to be: a sentiment made evident when YMAS returned the venue to party mode with a rousing rendition of “IOU,” one of the standout tracks off VI. The excursion into funk territory demonstrates the band’s comfort with shedding labels and defying expectations.
Toward the end of the evening, Josh brought a little kid on stage, whose dance moves had the band grinning as much as the audience. It was an apt capstone to a night of infectious joy.
LA-based machineheart kicked off the evening with a mesmerizing synth-pop off debut album People Change. DREAMERS then delivered an electrifying set of pop-rock, including the earworm “Sweet Disaster,” with its mixture of nostalgia and wide-eyed hopefulness: “Drifting like it’s 1974, dressing like the Rolling Stones. Hey! Ho! Let’s go get some more, like young Ramones — some nights feel like every night — this one feels brand new.”