What a better way to finish a UK tour than by having a sold-out show in London? This is what Surrey’s You Me At Six experienced on Monday at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. In a room filled with about 2,000 people, it was after the crowd sang Red Hot Chili Peppers’s ‘By The Way’ together that the lights were switched off; the show was about to start.
Arriving one by one on stage, the flashing blue lights behind them made the five guys from You Me At Six’s entrance very theatrical, a sort of shadow show. As the first notes flew, it was suddenly hundreds of hands that were dancing in the air, as if they expected to catch a little bit of their anthem, ‘When We Were Younger’. As the 5-minute song was getting more and more powerful, so were the lights in the room and people’s chants. A powerful way to start the night.
In the room, different generations of fans were present. First, the late-20 years olds, who grew up with You Me At Six and consider the band as one of the last ambassadors of the 2000s-rock, or even emo, culture. And then, the teenagers; a new generation of fans, who understand the messages in the songs as their elders once did. While many things could separate them in the outside world, the protective environment of the gig made all of the fans become one entity; a more powerful one. During the night, songs from You Me At Six’s latest album, Cavalier Youth were mixed with Sinners Never Sleep (2011) and their 2010 LP, Hold Me Down. The show and the tour were also a way to introduce fans to songs from the band’s upcoming album, Night People.
Towards the middle of their performance, singer Josh Franceschi asked the audience to acknowledge the people around them, whether they were strangers, friends or lovers; it was a time to breathe and share. To share a look, a kiss, a handshake or an embrace: a nice and loving way the band chose to introduce their so-famous ‘Forgive and Forget’ from their 2014 Cavalier Youth album.
With a mix of songs like ‘Fresh Start Fever’, ‘Plus One’, ‘Reckless’, ‘Win Some, Lose Some’ and ‘Underdog’, the fans were at a great level of enjoyment. Knowing every lyric to each song, they were smiling, laughing, dancing, jumping, cheering and singing for more than an hour. Barely any phone was in the air to capture a memory of the moment: it was just a time to enjoy.
Time, that’s what that night was missing. When came the last notes of ‘Too Young To Feel Old’ came, the room went back to pitch black. It was already time for the encore, faster than anyone in the room could have ever imagined. Before finishing the night with the newest addition to their songs, ‘Night People’, You Me At Six announced that their next album was going to be the best they have ever produced. Hence the reason they stayed in studio for 18 months. The show was now done.
Memories of a wonderful night were made, and high expectations for the band’s future were set. While dozens of people waited impatiently by the artists’ entrance to exchange a few words – and hugs – with the band, some others had the supporting act VANT’s words in mind: “If we manage to sell out our show at Scala on the 29th October, the guys from You Me At Six said they would come and play with us!” Whether or not they would play at Scala is a question that can only be answered on Saturday, but one thing is certain: You Me At Six’s new album is coming out on 13th January 2017. With Night People on the way, the audience can only count the number of nights until that day, dreaming of the sound it may have. Seventy-nine sleeps and counting, night people.