You Me At Six – Rose Theatre, Kingston, 22/01/17

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Elissa Franceschi has been quiet for a while.
The last video posted to her Youtube channel went up nearly three years ago, and her last official single, ‘Dust’, will be turning four in October. She was only announced as the support act for this show a couple of hours before the doors opened, but being the sister of You Me At Six’s frontman, all ticket holders knew exactly who she was.
“This is a bit strange!” she laughed after her opening song. “I haven’t played a gig in a very long time. It’s strange, but it’s nice.” Her set was shaky to start – her eyes glued to her piano, seeming to find it hard to interact with the crowd and not projecting her powerful voice as much as she normally does – but by the end of her five song set she’d completely loosened up.
Popping in a cheeky cover of the Justin Bieber hit ‘Sorry’, she ad-libbed throughout allowing her personality to shine. After stumbling over the lyrics she quipped “Is it fucking rap?!” and closed the song by solemnly saying “I’m really sorry for that…”. The joke got a huge groan from the crowd, but it was accompanied by rapturous applause.
Receiving such a great reaction relaxed her, and the aforementioned ‘Dust’ was performed beautifully.
Introducing new song ‘Magnets’, Elissa shared the fact that she’d recently moved back to the UK from America – probably another reason she’s been flying under the radar! Remarking that it was written after observing “the push and pull of life”. Comparing her two new songs to the two older songs she played, it’s obvious that her writing style has matured and developed during her break: her lyrics are more profound, the quick tempo to the song showed she wasn’t afraid of trying new things, and I’m very excited for them to go up online so I can listen to them again.
Closing with ‘Salt’, her most well-known song, I was surprised that she didn’t get her brother out on stage with her. He lends his vocals to the track, a collaboration that helped launch her career, and it would have been wonderful to hear it in a live environment, but alas I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed for them to play a show together again in the future.
Her nerves were understandable. Going from not playing a gig in years to playing an esteemed venue such as this one must be nerve-wracking! I’m glad to see Elissa back and playing new music, and I’m hoping that 2017 will herald the arrival of a new EP.  
Setlist:
I Wonder If She Knows
Sorry (cover)
Dust
Magnets
Salt

In case you haven’t guessed, I love You Me At Six. This was my fifth time seeing them since their comeback in August, and I’ve already got my tickets booked for the Alexandra Palace show they’re playing in April.
Thankfully, I got given tickets to this show for Christmas. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it, and knowing that it was the first acoustic headline show that the band had ever performed it was one I really didn’t want to miss. 

‘Night People’ was released at the start of the month, so this was primarily a celebration of the new album; out of the thirteen songs the band performed six were from their newest release. I love the majority of the new album – the one exception being ‘Heavy Soul’ – and the songs don’t disappoint in a live environment. The studio version of ‘Heavy Soul’ bores me, but it’s less bland in a live environment, the acoustic version that they performed beautifully arranged and a very strong start to the set. Showcasing alternate versions of ‘Give’, ‘Night People’ and ‘Swear’ were obvious inclusions, but that didn’t make them less strong. ‘Give’ lends itself perfectly to an acoustic rendition, while ‘Swear’ is normally so vicious that hearing it stripped back makes it more powerful.
This show featured the live debuts of both ‘Take On The World’ and ‘Brand New’, and I was shocked by the fact that the crowd already love the new songs. I knew it was true of ‘Give’ – it feels like it’s been in the set for years because it’s so obviously a favourite – but I hadn’t expected the crowd to love all of the new material without question.
‘Brand New’ was a surprise inclusion, Josh sharing that they’d discussed it and decided not to play it but he wanted to put it in after all. While waiting for the band to get their instruments tuned, he sang the chorus on his own, joking “There ya go, acapella!” before laughing to himself and saying “Can you tell we made that record in Nashville or what?” adopting an over-the-top fake country accent, goofing around in a way he doesn’t normally.
He dedicated ‘Take On The World’ to his fiancĂ©e Abigail. Every time they release an album, they have one pure love song on it (‘Always Attract’, ‘Fireworks’, ‘Crash’ etc.), songs which are breath-taking live, and this one’s not the exception. The woah-oh-oh chant in the background live isn’t spine-tingling just yet, but in four months time this could be the song that catapults You Me At Six to stadium heights.
This show was a family affair. Kingston is very close to the boy’s home in Surrey, so it wasn’t surprising that their relatives out in force: even Josh’s dog Harley was at the show. He shared this fact early in the night and during every quiet moment the crowd’s chant of “Harley, Harley!” started up again. Josh brushed it off to start with, jokingly chanting “We want dog!” in response, but before playing ‘Night People’ he agreed to get Harley out on stage if no one screamed because “he’s only a baby”.
You’ve never heard a room go silent so fast. Josh gathered Harley up in his arms, giving him a big cuddle and showing him off to everyone, before letting him run back off of the stage to the relative quiet of the wings. As a huge dog lover, I was pumped: Harley has one of the cutest Instagram accounts you’ll ever follow.
The band couldn’t resist showcasing a selection of songs from their back catalogue alongside the newer material. They alternated between new and old songs, choosing to forego playing fan favourites such as ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Underdog’ and instead picking tracks to make the night truly unforgettable.
The most surprising inclusion was ‘Be Who You Are’ from ‘Cavalier Youth’, the shortest song that the band have ever released. It was the most cheerful song in their set and worked beautifully in this setting; I can understand why the band chose to include it despite never playing it live before. My personal highlight had to be ‘Loverboy’, though: the acoustic version that they released six years ago is always in my most played lists, and hearing Josh scream “Chris Miller’s about to shred on an acoustic!” is a moment I’m never going to forget.
The band enjoyed this show as much as the fans did. Josh shared that it “might about be the catalyst for us doing a little acoustic tour around the country” and that they’d “love to do this thing properly, with an orchestra.” When they announce those shows, you don’t want to miss out.

Setlist:
Heavy Soul
Fresh Start Fever
Take On The World
Stay With Me
Swear
Be Who You Are
Give
Too Young To Feel This Old
Loverboy
Brand New
Lived A Lie
Night People
Room To Breathe

When I reviewed You Me At Six’s Camden show for afterLIVE I talked about how relieving it was to see the boys having fun on stage, and that was also true at this show. The smaller the shows, the better the atmosphere. I know they’re going to be at the top of their game when they play that arena tour in April, but I’m going to miss the relaxed attitude that I’ve grown accustomed to. You won’t get Josh introducing the wrong song or singing the riff of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘Jenny From The Block’ at Alexandra Palace…