It’s been nearly 3 years since pop rock band You Me At Six have released any new material, so with the announcement of a new album Night People and its debut single of the same name this year, it’s understandable that the Surrey quintet would want to ease back into touring with a string of intimate gigs. Well, intimate when compared to the arenas they were filling just two years ago. But despite the smaller venue at Mountford Hall in the Liverpool Guild of Students, it’s safe to say the band are back to their best.
With just one opening act in the shape of indie rockers VANT, whose new single ‘Peace and Love’ is a particular set list highlight (along with frontman Mattie Vant’s ability to get the crowd warmed up for the night ahead), the fans in Mountford didn’t have long to wait until the opening of ‘When We Were Younger’, the band’s 2011 hit from Bite My Tongue, rang through the packed out hall.
Some of the band’s biggest hits received the warmest reception from the bustling crowd in the Guild, with ‘Fresh Start Fever’ and ‘Loverboy’ in quick succession both earning a roar from fans, alongside ‘Reckless’ which gained the biggest reaction of the night and showed a band at their strongest, with the audience in the palm of their hands. But it’s frontman Josh Franceschi that stole the show, whipping the audience into a frenzy and knowing just the right moment to slow things down and connect with the crowd, the perfect example being the set list closer of ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’. With just Franceshi and guitarist Max Helyer on stage, the acoustic version of this song felt much more emotional than its album counterpart, and a definite sign of a band that is maturing and finding a new sound.
This is a band with a point to prove and a comeback to cement, with a live show that is polished and hits every right note it’s clear to see just why the band won the Kerrang! Award for Best British Band, back in 2011. But You Me At Six are a band that is changing and transforming into a much different beast, and if the set list – which jumped between heavier hits such as ‘Bite My Tongue’ sans Oli Sykes, and the slower ‘No One Does It Better’ – is anything to go by, then the following 18 months or so will be an interesting one to come for fans of the band both old and new.
Under the bright lights of the stage at Mountford Hall, the five-piece seemed to come alive and bounce off each other, and despite the smaller setting, the gig felt just as important as any of the venues the band had previously graced. ‘Night People’ closed the band’s encore; a foot-stomping, fist pumping anthem, that would easily fill any arena, not too unlike Imagine Dragons ‘I’m So Sorry’, which fans seemed to love and will no doubt become a future set list staple. By closing with the new single Franceschi and co. sent a very clear message – this is a band who are not stuck in the past, but very much focused on their future – that future looks like a very bright one indeed.
With a new tour announced for 2017 and more new material to come, it’s going to be an exciting for months ahead for You Me At Six, and the gig at Mountford Hall felt like just a taster of what is to come.