You Me At Six
Support: Young Kato and Don Broco
Venue and Date: Plymouth Pavilions, 2nd April 2014
Too Young To Feel This Old
Fresh Start Fever
Stay With Me
Forgive And Forget
Room To Breathe
Bite My Tongue
Lived A Lie
I usually begin by shining some light on my past experiences of the many shows that have taken place within the chosen venue over the years. Although in this case I’ve already done that with February’s overview of Frank Turner’s gig, which can be found here. I will however state that this was my second time seeing the Surrey legends do their thing, with the first time being last year when they performed with Thirty Seconds To Mars at the Pavilions.
Just like any other gig, there were also a couple of support bands on the bill that night. One were great…….one not so much. First act of the night was Cheltenham’s six piece indie pop-rock band Young Kato who gave a full-hearted performance, albeit a lukewarm one. For starters, they’re overall lure didn’t seem to sit on the same fence as the accompanying bands that night. Throughout their set, the band were doused in blue lights that remained motionless during their near half hour stint. This seemed to have a reverse effect on their suggested stage presence though as instead of projecting a “deep/moody” aurora, you were simply left with a slightly stale and dozy atmosphere. I will however admit that if I saw them supporting a more indie based band, then their presence would have definitely fitted a lot better and comfortably. In the end, the music is the most important part and their mix of electronics, tiny bits of synth and indie layered guitars, did very little to win me over. Without putting too much weight on comparisons, their sound sits somewhere between a mix of early Friendly Fires and Dog Is Dead. I tend to think to myself that a support band needs to either get the crowd warmed up or bring something new, exciting and different to what the main band will be providing. Granted Young Kato deliver a sound very different compared to Don Broco and YMAS, albeit a rather alienated, if not a tad isolated one during that evening.
Next up were Bedford four piece Don Broco who delivered their heavy pop rock “lad” antics with the utmost precision and excellence during their entire performance. I’ve seen these guys twice before, both playing their own headline shows last year, so this was my first taste of viewing them as a support band. Needless to say they excelled in doing so. Opening with last year’s single “You Wanna Know”, the Bedford group were well on their way to getting the crowd pumped and ready for tonight’s main act. Even though this track is dubbed as one of their “bigger hits”, I was quite amazed by the amount of positive feedback and crowd participation throughout its performance. After a full hearted start, the band kicked in too another popular single of theirs “Whole Truth” which once again saw another burst of energetic involvement within the crowd. Later on “Thug Workout” made its presence shown with singer Rob Damiani declaring “this one’s a bit mental, look after each other out there” as it’s artillery of rapid roaring vocals and dangerous rifts tore the crowd apart, eventually creating a few mosh pits. One of the more entertaining and special moments of their performance wasn’t actually their music, as singer Rob was celebrating his birthday on that very day. The band presented him with a candle lit birthday cake and started singing Happy Birthday, to which the majority of the crowd joined in, ultimately filling the Pavilions up with birthday cheers. After some joyous celebrations and a few more songs later, the band finished off their 9 song set with “Priorities” which received huge fan appreciation. By now the atmosphere and stage was firmly set for You Me At Six to deliver their much awaited show.
After the white curtain that had restricted our view during setup time had dropped, the band joined the stage, which admittedly seemed a little odd to me. During the half hour preparation, I was thinking how good it’d look when that curtain would finally fall upon the first beat of the drum of within the first verse. Although the curtain had no real effect, the opening track “Too Young To Feel This Old” supplied great impact. As the opening track on their newest album Cavalier Youth, it seemed the perfect choice to start with. When it’s overly epic intro died down and singer Josh Franceschi delivered the first line “We’re not young anymore, what are you so scared of?” the crowds vocals were almost as loud as his. To my surprise, a track as new as that receiving that kind of reaction was a little bit of a shock, albeit a good one.
Since this tour was in support of the new No1 album Cavalier Youth, it was no surprise that “Fresh Start Fever” made its way onto the setlist. The track never made its impact on me when released as a single a couple months ago. Although within its context on the album, it works really well and even better live, especially since it finished off with an explosion of confetti. When touring a new album, you can’t leave out the old material or classics, so Hold Me Down fan favourite “Stay With Me” ticked that box and gave a little bit of nostalgia to a now more mature and grown up band. Perhaps the weakest part of their set was one off single “The Swarm” as I’ve never really viewed it as a true You Me At Six song, purely because it sounds too distant from their other material lyrically. Next up saw two tracks from 2011’s Sinners Never Sleep make their appearance. First up was “Little Death” which earned a rapturous crowd sing-along, particularly during the choruses “We are not your lovers, we are not your friends, fuck what you believe in, cause this is the end”. This was followed up by “Loveryboy” which enjoyed another healthy dose of support from the crowd, especially during the intros pirate esque chant and devious chorus.
After a few tracks from their extensive back catalogue, it was time to delve back into Cavalier Youth with the incredibly touching “Forgive And Forget” (one of my favourites) and the colossal “Room To Breathe”. The former provided some down time and a moments rest for a deeper and more meaningful performance while easily earning and deserving all your attention. The latter picked up the pace again with bigger rifts and an overall grander emphasis of being on the attack as opposed to being on the defensive.
After two fresh servings of new material, it was time to retract towards some older hits. Once again drawing from Hold Me Down was the ever catchy “Underdog” and the even sweeter “Liquid Confidence”. The first of which continued the lively atmosphere that “Room To Breathe” had left behind while the second song helped to slowly simmer the mood and bring the energetic crowd to a near halt of mass appreciation while witnessing and participating in such an endearing song. By now a little pattern was starting to develop, a few new ones, a few old ones, back and forth. It was down to another two new tracks to finish off the main part of their show, the super soft and lovely “Cold Night” and the powerful closing track “Wild Ones”. The crowd activity spiked during “Cold Night” with its mix of gentle verses and empowering choruses while also sparking every couple within the room. “Wild Ones” brought in a rather special moment and to the dismay of nearly every security guard in the building, Josh demanded everyone get on someone’s shoulders for its duration.
Following a very brief break, the band returned for their much loved encore. After a little thank you for tonight’s wonderful reception and dedication, the band tore into hit single “Reckless” which saw the room light up as the mood reached an all-time high while generating one of the biggest sing-alongs of the evening. Next up was the rather vicious “Bite My Tongue” which features Oil Sykes on the recorded version, although it was fairly obvious he wouldn’t be making an appearance that evening. Since Sykes wasn’t going to be around, it was down to Josh to fill those boots for the harsh and rough vocal display towards the end of the track. I’ve seen Josh do this before and it never fails to disappoint. Granted it’s not as full bodied as Oli Sykes destructive vocals but it’s the next best thing by miles. The band rounded the night off with a powerful performance of their highest charting single “Lived A Lie” that pushed the crowd into giving it all for one last time, before finishing off with blasts of golden confetti. It’s fair to say I haven’t been a long term fan like many others have and I haven’t been with them since the very start. Although I definitely cherish their place in music and look in awe at how far they’ve grown and come over the few years I’ve stuck with them. I really want to be around for the next handful of years to see what these guys can continue to achieve. Oh and hanging back after the show to meet Chris, Max and Dan was simply the best.