Francesqa, Colly Strings
Colly Strings open the show with a relatively chilled out set, nothing too heavy to get everyone jumping around, and the audience respond well at the end of each song. With songs like "Built to Break", "Teddy Robinson", "Speaking in Tongues" and "Another Day Like This" it's no wonder they've become so popular, giving off a bit of a Biffy Clyro vibe, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Overall they play a great set, and I'm sure they gained a good few new fans tonight.
The lights dim and one by one Francesqa appear on stag, the piercing screams of both the male and female audience almost too much to bear. If you're fortunate enough to be near the front to get the full 'in your face experience, you're also unfortunate enough to feel your ribs being crushed as soon as you hear the beginning of their new single "All I Had", as everyone charges as close to the stage as possible. The chorus has the whole crowd jumping together in unison, a truly wonderful image for any band to see.
The audience absorb the new material, eager to hear it for the first time, but it's their acoustic songs that prove to be the show-stopper; having a crowd jumping around and screaming at the top of their lungs is one thing, but when you have a slow acoustic number, keeping the audience attention is key. The emotion that Ashley Wilkie sings with is something truly admirable, leaving the silent and in pure awe, just absorbing the magic flowing from the speakers.
The way Francesqa communicate with the audience is brilliant, drummer Warren Senior putting so much into it that he rips through his snare. Ashley Wilkie tells some ridiculously bad jokes, a chant for, guitarist Joe Hicks is started, someone professes their love for guitarist Tom Millar and Ben Hordos whips out his xylophone (excuse the innuendo). The night ends on a high with promises of returning before the end of the year, and taking the time to greet each and every fan, graciously agreeing to sign a number of things and take as many pictures as wanted. A truly humble and extremely talented band that really has the potential to go far with this.
The members of Francesqa were kind enough to tweet later on that night saying "Possibly our favourite show that we ever played Belfast! What the hell just happened! Such an incredible show." What an achievement.