You Me At Six knows how to make girls scream
O2 Academy Brixton was set on fire on Monday night, 2nd April, in London by You Me At Six’s relentless power-pop extravaganza playing in front of a horde of Camden-like teenagers.
During the show, lead singer Josh Franceschi took time to acknowledge how far the band has come in such a short time. With an average age of 22, the Surrey-based band is already on its third album – which reached number 3 in the charts last October, incidentally – and has gathered apparently unstoppable momentum, along with a devoted (and extremely vocal) fanbase. However, it’s not hard to see why given the teenage wasteland recently created by the dissolution of former tourmates Paramore. Their songs are punchy and smart, with just the right dose of rebellion and sex appeal to win over the Inbetweeners crowd. And as evidenced by the first of two nights at the O2 Academy Brixton, they put on one hell of a live show.
From the dramatic curtain-raiser of recent single Loverboy onwards, the show was nothing less than a celebration of sheer volume. As well as lining up with four guitarists, the band had also perched drummer Dan Flint on top of a huge wall of amps, an arrangement which lent itself to plenty of dry-ice-and-melodrama moments throughout the set. The songs all stuck to a tried-and-tested formula, involving convoluted intro riffs (usually drowned out by rapturous screams from the audience), snappy verses, a monolithic half-time middle 8 somewhere along the line and a sky-scraping chorus to finish things off.
Throughout, Franceschi exhorted the spectators to crowdsurf and generally go berserk, bizarrely invoking the spirit of the Olympics at one point to drum up enthusiasm.
In the face of such unrestrained exuberance, it barely even mattered how good the songwriting actually was, although there were some genuine anthems which stood out. Older songs like Safer To Hate Her and Take Off Your Colours bristled with genuine punk fury and elsewhere the band’s pop smarts were there for all to see – Reckless is a triumphant relative of The Killers’ When You Were Young, and the vocal hook on Liquid Confidence basically is Emilia’s Big Big World, although it’s not certain the band will appreciate the comparison.
As if sensing the gradual lethargy brought on by their all-out assault, You Me At Six eventually toned things down towards the end of their set with a disarming one-two of No One Does It Better (dedicated to bassist Matt Barnes’ mum, celebrating her birthday in the crowd) and Crash, performed on a scaled-down stage at decreased volume. It was a lovely touch and only made the high-octane encore of Stay With Me and Bite My Tongue even more volcanic in its impact.
If You Me At Six can master their sonic dynamics and keep their teenage audience interested beyond album number three, then soon enough the O2 Academy Brixton won’t be large enough to contain their crowd.
Listen to Loverboy here
Click here to listen to other songs by You Me At Six on SoundCloud.