As I’m sure anyone of you who follow me on Tumblr knew anyway (seen as I’ve been banging on about it for days), I went to see You Me At Six last night, with my brother Taylor, my best friend Reema and my new gig buddies Alice and Alison. You’ll be pleased to know that all my hyping, constant josh reblogs and ymas spam was completely worth it, as it turned out to be one of the most catharctic gigs I have ever been to.
In fairness, it did start out pretty painful, waiting in the freezing cold snow for over an hour. Reema and I had elected to buy a cheap blanket to wrap around ourselves while we waited, so at least our bodies were warm, but my feet literally felt like they could have snapped off. Not good. Still, I have to give kudos to the staff at the Apollo, as doors opened bang on 7 and they were actually pretty efficient at getting people in.
15 minutes later, a good side of stage spot established, we were treated to our first support act, Canterbury. I saw them this time last year supporting Enter Shikari at a Christmas gig, and in only 12 months they’ve come on leaps and bounds. The songs sounded much tighter than I was expecting, and by the end of their set they’d actually whipped up a rather impressive singalong for a band on so early.
After Canterbury, we had our first glimpse of DJ Tibbin, a long time friend of You Me At Six and dubstep DJ. He had all the tunes, but waaaay too quietly, so much so that the chatter from the crowd almost drowned him out completely. Better luck next time?
If there’s one thing you can’t accuse Set Your Goals of, it’s being too quiet. In short, they were effing mental. Made up of basically four old men and a sixth former( well, thats what it looked like anyway), they sounded like they were constantly playing 5 different songs at once, and screechin nonsencial phrases over it. Even more oddly, it somehow worked, and was more instantly appealing than they sound on record. They got a massive circle pit going, especially when they started launching rolls of toilet paper, and even more so when Josh Franceschi came bounding out to lend his vocals, beaming away.
So we had another brief interlude from DJ Tibbin (slightly louder this time), and then we started to hit the big boys: The Blackout. They came blasting out on stage with Children of the Night and didn’t really let up from there for the remaining five songs.There was a fair bit of disappointment in the air when Gavin announced that Josh would not be joining them for “This is why we can’t have nice things…” as he was saving his voice, but this was soon eradicated as Hammersmith began to scream the “I don’t care what you’re thinking…” refrain. Sean and Gavin both gave it basically everything, displaying some of the most impressive mike swinging i’ve ever witnessed, not to mention their lovely welsh accents. They left to raptrous applause; all in all, a highly impressive set in such a short space of time.
Finally, DJ Tibbin was audible,dropping the likes of Bonkers and Katy On A Mission, but it became pretty apparent pretty quickly that no-one really gave a crap what he was playing when the chants of “YOU. ME. AT .SIX. YOU. ME. AT. SIX” started up. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the lad. But when the lights dimmed, all sympathy flew out of my head as I readied myself for one of my favourite bands.
There’s not a lot I can really say about the 16 songs that You Me At Six played, apart from the fact that as a long term fan,I couldn’t really have asked for anything more. Sure, I would have loved to hear Playing The Blame Game, and If You Run, and inevitably, when you have such a back catalogueit must be hard to choose. But I truly wasn’t expecting to be so spoilt in the career spanning set they played, 8 from Take Of Your Colours and 8 from Hold Me Down. I’d known from tweets throughout the day that Josh wasn’t on his best form: he’d lost his voice and towards the beginning of their set, you could hear him straining for the high notes. But he refused to give up, running all over stage and reaching out to the crowd, business as usual. He hit his stride during a beautiful acoustic segment of “You Made Your Bed” and “Always Attract”, and for the first time I actually saw him relax, smile, and stop worrying about how he sounded. I’ve been following You Me At Six from the start, and one thing that’s always struck me about Josh as a frontman is that he’s a perfectionist, and I could see that his frustration about his voice was hurting him, and from his many murmured “sorry”s, he felt he was letting us down. But when he, and indeed, the other boys started to see how mad we were going regardless, they settled into it and gave the show of their lives. The banter was upped, the screams got louder, and Max headbanged so viscously I’m sure that he caused himelf some pretty long lasting damage. Regardless,I felt so proud watching them play to a sold out crowd, new and old sonngs mingling so well, equally anthemic.I think that’s really what shows why You Me At Six are a headlining band: they have such heart and honesty in their lyrics that it’s almost impossible not to become emotionally attached to them in some way.And that is why, when they finished with “Underdog”, the phrase “Down but definitely not out” was sung back at them with such conviction, because for many, they’re a band to believe in when things are hard.They may not have sounded the best they ever had, but they are still head and shoulders above any pop punk band in this country right now, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more