Francesqa – The Roadhouse, Manchester

By Andy

Tonight gets underway early with 6pm doors, something which has come to be expected of the Roadhouse. The local support THE CAPE RACE [4/5] warm up a decent sized crowd shortly after, while people still make their way in. Even early on it’s clear they have a few fans in the audience and the lead singer takes full advantage of this with a very charismatic, if not on occasions slightly over-the-top performance. The rest of the band are also impressively tight. The song structures and variety shown tonight prove that The Cape Race have plenty to offer and the catchy debut single ?They’re Young, They’re In Love? gets the greatest reaction of their set.

The band show good technical ability with some more complex times/rhythms than the average pop-punk band and show they’ve got some songs to be proud of. The fact the band over run by almost 10 minutes is no bad thing. The Cape Race have warmed up the crowd excellently and provide everything you’d hope from an opening local support.

THE DANGEROUS SUMMER [3/5] over time have had some decent press and have the ability to build on an excellent opening but they largely disappoint. It’s a very tired set and their recent busy schedule appears to have caught up with them. Punktastic wasn’t expecting as much energy from them as the other two bands on the bill tonight, but excluding the last two songs this is uninspiring. The vocals struggle to rise above the guitar and drums and it’s sometimes difficult to even determine what songs they’re playing. The last two songs are a vast improvement but overall, it’s very average.

Throughout the night it’s clear that this packed young crowd are only bothered about one band: FRANCESQA [3.5/5]. Punktastic therefore expects the noise levels in the Roadhouse to be deafening. Unfortunately this doesn’t materialise. The audience are actually surprisingly tame, especially given the reaction they’ve previously got in the same room.

Part of this is understandable as despite the band being as impressive tonight as they’ve been previously, vocalist Ashley Wilkie is not at his best and provides a weak and flat performance. The songs are as catchy as ever and the hits still sound good, the opener ‘All I Had’ and ‘Years’ both get good receptions, but the expectation tonight was much higher than good. The poor vocals also really hit home when they try something a bit different with ‘I Lost My Way’ and ‘Boy’ done with just acoustic guitar and glockenspiel. It just doesn’t work.

‘Ghosts’ predictably ends the set and ends it well but tonight wasn’t Francesqa at their best.