Long gone are the days where Download Festival is a place for only the heavier bands in the rock/metal scene, and it’s something that’s become increasingly more evident in the past couple of years. One of the bands in this new wave of poppier, more light-hearted bands is You Me At Six, who took to the Zippo Encore Stage on the evening of day one. With the many years of touring behind them and their constant rise, it was an obvious next step for them to be headlining the second stage this year.
Instead of circle pits or moshing, coming to see the Surrey band was more for dancing or bopping along. That doesn’t mean that the sing alongs weren’t just as loud though, with the crowd joining in with frontman Josh Franceschi, be it for some of the older tracks or those off their most recent release Night People in 2017. Kicking it way back to the very early days of the band, Franceschi pointed out the milestone ten year anniversary the band were celebrating of their debut album this year, before kick starting ‘Save It For The Bedroom’. Just like that, You Me At Six brought 2008 to Download Festival, driving the crowd into an ecstatic frenzy.
As a contrast to that, it was also great to see the band play ‘Fast Forward’, a recently released single that’s been taken from their forthcoming sixth studio album. Though only just released a few days before, some people in the crowd were already familiar with the track (or at least its infectious chorus). Over the years the band have gone through a natural progression in sound, and its evident in the clear differences we hear as the band bolster through tracks across their back catalogue.
The pink skies of the beautiful sunset in the background, as well as the elaborate lighting all added to the overall vibe of the band’s set. While all of that is a nice touch, what truly made You Me At Six’s set special was they still played with the same amount of drive they always have. Playing to a crowd of the size has seemingly become effortless for the band, having played Wembley and Ally Pally in recent years, but it hasn’t jaded them from delivering 101%, ensuring anyone watching was having a great time.