If you live in the UK and have dabbled in live music over the past few years, it’s likely that you have already experienced a You Me At Six set. Touring relentlessly since their mid-teens, the Surrey natives have supported some of the biggest names in rock and in turn asserted themselves as one of the mainstays of the space that exists somewhere between ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ in the UK – so it’s of little surprise that they’re in Glasgow to play a two-night stint at the O2 Academy in support of their latest release, Cavalier Youth.
The Kerrang! favourites emerge to little fanfare other than the eardrum-splitting screams of eager fans. Somewhere in the midst of a frantic light show which continues throughout their set, You Me At Six launch into Too Young To Feel This Old, the title of which could serve as an accurate review of the evening in itself. Their performance is teeming with energy and frontman Josh Franceschi conducts the crowd in a way that only someone with practice under their belt could. Recent single Fresh Start Fever sees the crowd work itself into a frenzy, with a well-timed explosion of confetti adding a fun touch – but also highlighting that with a much smaller production set-up than on previous tours, YMAS may not have songs strong enough to fall back on. As the band has matured, so too has their brand of pop-punk into anthemic pop-rock – unfortunately, this appears to have also meant settling into a comfortable formula as each track is met with the niggling feeling of ‘haven’t they already played this one?’. As a result of this, the set drags despite only lasting a short 15 songs. The quintet perform with fervour but there is a distinct sense of going through the motions – though Franceschi seems entirely genuine when thanking the crowd for their continued support and the success of Cavalier Youth, which saw the band score their first chart-topping album.
Encore track Reckless is the highlight of the set and one of the better songs the band has to offer. By the time You Me At Six close with Lived A Lie, it’s evident that the crowd is just as much to credit for the success of the band’s live show as the musicians themselves, with their enthusiasm serving to distract from the band’s shortcomings at times. Tonight may not have been their best show, but there’s no doubt that there will be plenty of opportunities for them to redeem themselves in future.