• Charlotte Claber

LOUDER at Gunnersville Festival

Gunnersbury Park set the landscape for one of the final festivals of 2019. Gunnersville took over the Acton Park for a weekender of varied entertainment. From The Doves to The Specials to night three with pop-rock icons You Me At Six headlining a sold out finale. A day of bands promising not to disappoint is kicked off with grunge outfit Milk Teeth. The local-punx played an energetic set featuring their latest single Stain. The band were a great opener for an exciting day.

As It Is for the first time may be the heaviest band on the line-up at this festival but it certainly didn’t scare them off. The reaction to tracks from their latest escapade was voltaic, a sure fire win with the band deserving a spot substantially higher. Their reimagined version of ‘The Question, The Answer’ had the circle pits spinning and surfers flying over the barrier, a true test of security as they’re still getting ready for the day.

Next on came in the form of a ray of sunshine from The Maine a band filled with constant positivity towards the crowd and ever optimistic. Flashing signs of “Are You OK?” and more on screen the band brought the mood up and showered Gunnersville in a whole load of love. ‘My Best Habit’ and ‘Bad Behaviour’ both received electric reactions from the sold out festival.

Sundara Karma were the true outsiders on the bill but it didn’t phase them, an ethereal sound brought punters back into the tent quickly with the opening notes of ‘A Song For My Future Self’ building up a crowd. The band kicked in with a true feel good indie track that had many intrigued to see what they’d bring to the day. ‘One Last Night on This Earth’ rings out wanting crowds wanting more and not much movement between the end of the band and the start of Deaf Havana. The band who have been on the scene for a number of years, open with ‘Boston Square’ from the bands 2013 ‘Old Souls’. A song that bridged the gap from Sundara to them easily. They picked a strong mix of old and new from their catalogue which had fans singing along for the entirety of the set. A perfect end to a short but sweet set came ‘Sinner’, anthemic and feel good, it had a tent dancing with arms flailing around.

Jimmy Eat World enter the stage and everyone holds a respect for the band who influenced most of the lineup. ‘Pain’ opened up a set that wiped all expectations of the bands out. A true energy filled the tent and the hype for what was to come settled in. Timeless classics with hit after hit and Jimmy Eat World proved why they are still relevant in one set. Songs that have spanned decades including ‘Bleed American’ and ‘Sweetness’. ‘Criminal Energy’ got its live debut whilst Chris from headliners You Me At Six joined the band for ‘Hear You Me’. No moment however will compare to the opening “Hey” from ‘The Middle’ the tent erupts with passion for the tune that really defined a generation.

Headliner came from local boys You Me At Six a band who have had a long lasting career full of hits. So many hits that the band decided that Gunnersville would receive a playthrough of (most of) the singles. Kicking off with ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ which many forget was the first track even before the days of ‘Kiss and Tell’ which came much later than realised. The crowd was electric for ‘If I Were in Your Shoes’ and more but the pace changed quickly when they let “Kiss and Tell’ out. ‘The Consequence’ brought ex-The Blackout frontman Sean Smith out front which received a huge reaction from people of all ages. ‘Liquid Confidence’ brought out the true passion in the crowd with emotion swelling the tent, hands flew in the air for ‘Lived a Lie’ with the masses sounding like an army, a sound that echoed far. The songs transcend and YMAS prove there are no boundaries.

Preparing for ‘Room To Breathe’, lead singer Josh Franceschi talked about their attempts to defy the media, a constant battle for the band with their growth, the acceptance from the mainstream. The worry that they didn’t understand the musicality and the passion but the truth that the media turned blind eyes to bands like this. The band have grown to defy all expectations but not just from the media, also from their peers who overlooked the band in their genre as they infused influences from different alternative worlds. As an album ‘Night People’ really pushed the band to working at a new pace and towards the mainstream and the growth musically and lyrically can really be felt in the atmosphere. Tracks sounded and felt bigger from the get go. The pace was slowed down for the title track but ‘Swear’ brought back a jazzier bassline that really stood out in the set. The band brought their passionate and their fire, metaphorically and literally, to their last handful of songs. Emanating a true pop-rock vibe, ‘Straight To My Head’ brought the crowd together, a visual assault with flames and CO2 cannon the band truly pull all the stops out with the energy not slowing down. Closing off the festival with the latest single ‘What’s It Like’ infusing the bands pop-rock catalogue with a dubstep beat and a snake-charmer like vibe to create what is a real change from the bands previous album VI. The track is a statement from the band, a sonically bold track that will confuse and delight fans old and new but truly created a large live spectacle.