The last time I saw You Me At Six play a headline show was 5 years ago at the Roundhouse. With only one album under their belt they showed promise, but admittedly were still learning the ropes. Fast forward to today and with their fourth album hitting the No. 1 spot on the UK album chart earlier in the year they clearly know what they are doing. Alexandra Palace, with a capacity of just over 7,000, is a bit of a step down from their sold out Wembley show that ended the tour for their third album. Nevertheless, tonight’s gig is sold out and with all the rubbish left outside it looks like people have been camping out all day for the chance to be at the barrier.
Despite only arriving 25 minutes after doors, the only view I get of Young Kato is of them walking offstage. Having been a part of the BBC sound of 2014 long list it would have been nice to finally see them live, but judging by the number of people standing around on their phones, I clearly didn’t miss anything ground breaking.
The second support for the night is Don Broco. The venue is a good three quarters full by now, and having had a fair amount of airplay thanks to the likes of Kerrang, people seem to be singing along and generally having a good time. They are a good warm up act for You Me At Six, with a similar fan base that no doubt makes their job slightly easier when it comes to winning over the crowd. Whilst they don’t seem overwhelmed by the sheer number of people watching, the amount of times they thank the crowd shows that this is clearly a little out of their comfort zone. They play a good set, but the whole thing does have a slightly wholesome, inoffensive feel. It’s probably a good thing considering that half the audience looks like they should be revising for their GCSE’s, but they do little to really grab your attention and set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.
You Me At Six have definitely upped their game since I last saw them, especially in their production. A few flashing lights have been exchanged for full screens that display snippets of music videos, live footage and lyrics. Their setlist is dominated by newer material, completely excluding their first album which put them on the map. It’s an odd move, especially since many of the older fans here tonight will have been following them since the beginning, but the new songs go down well and they squeeze in a few of their older hits like ‘Underdog’ and ‘Lover boy’. There are a few impromptu moments during their high octane set -namely when singer Josh asks the crowd to toast Kurt Cobain as tonight is the 30th anniversary of his death – but the rest of the show feels a little rehearsed. From the synchronicity of the guitarist and bassist jumping on and off amps to the slightly predictable crowd interaction, it is a bit like ‘rock show by numbers’. Following a tried and tested method it’s a good, high energy show that keeps you entertained – as long as you’re not there expecting your mind to be blown.