You Me At Six – Manchester Academy (2nd April 2017)

The first night of the UK tour and back in Manchester for the first time in over 2 years, You Me At Six are without question back in business! Just days after finishing their headline European tour, the Surrey based quintet have embarked on an 11 date trip around the UK with The Night People tour.

Their latest album ‘Night People’ sees a nice throwback to their debut record with the raw rock ’n’ roll vibe found in the single ‘Swear’ and ‘Plus One’. Whilst still creating a new direction to head off on in the years to come. It’s more mature and slightly less aggressive than their first album, but seeing as it’s been almost 10 years this is to be expected. With the decade anniversary looming, the crowd went crazy with excitement as lead vocalist Josh Franceschi hinted at an anniversary tour. 

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The 10 year long run adds a hard sense of belonging to their ever strong fanbase, most of them have grown up listening to You Me At Six and will have so many memories soundtracked by the band. When they first broke through into the emo-rock scene in 2009, it was primarily led by bands such as Paramore and Fall Out Boy. The five piece managed to bring a fresh new sound onto the scene, encapsulating thousands of people who still listen to them day in, day out a decade later. It seems the band realise this too as Josh stated on Sunday night, “You Me At Six have achieved everything we could have ever wanted to achieve, now we’re just doing this for fun.”

Opening up the evening at Manchester Academy was Exeter based Blackfoxxes, one of the UK’s rising talents in the rock industry. Having just come off a tour with VANT, the trio are setting themselves up for one hell of a year! Bagging festival slots at Y Not, 2000 Trees, Slam Dunk and more, the lads are sure to gain hundreds if not thousands more fans over the coming months. Their debut album ‘I’m Not Well’ was released last year, and they certainly put their all into every track which relays perfectly into their live set. With raucous guitar riffs, punching bass lines and heavy percussion, the band are definitely on their way up.

Next to grace Manchester’s stage was Australian rock band Tonight Alive. The five piece headlined the venue last year and sold it out, now they have just signed a new record deal with Hopeless Records, and to celebrate have unveiled their new single and music video for ‘World Away’. The lucky lot in Manchester managed to bag the first live play of the new track, and from the crowds reaction it’s set to be one of their biggest hits to date. With Jenna McDougall’s pitch perfect vocals, addictive melodies and heavy riffs, it’s no surprise the audience loved it! 

There was an engrossing speech before this track, with Jenna speaking out about the society we live in; “The whole system relies on us forgetting the power that we each hold. But life gifted us with a thing called choice, if we learn to use our voices and disagree with society, we won’t submit to fear.” An inspiring moment that will sparked a gracious response from the crowd.

As You Me At Six’s slot approached, fans were getting themselves riled up with excitement to see the band they had waited 2 years to make a return to the North West. Opening with ‘Night People’ followed by the fan favourite ‘Underdog’, it’s clear to see that this is a band here to stay. Each and every track was sung word for word, arms in the air and dance moves you could only wish to be repeated. 

They managed to pack a lot of their biggest tracks into the 90 minute set, including ‘Swear’ and ’Heavy Soul’ to name a few. During the “crowd surfing song” ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, a You Me At Six festival took place inside the Academy. With frontman Josh wanting everyone to get on their friends shoulders, creating an amazing atmosphere that you could only wish to have been a part of.

Although the band have been making music and touring for the past decade, they still have something to say. A very moving and inspiring speech took place during the middle of their set, with Franceschi focusing on the state of todays society: “Growing up I’ve been taught some very simple shit. One, don’t ever judge anybody you don’t fucking know. Two, never discriminate against somebody because of the colour of their skin. And three, don’t you have a fucking opinion on somebody who wants to be in love with somebody of the same sex, that’s their fucking choice.” A very wise and bold move from the frontman, and one that the packed out room full of people quite rightly agreed with. 

More and more bands are happily using their status to share their opinions on politics and the world around us and it seems to be serving extremely well, particularly with the younger generation who tend to have a general passion for anti-discrimination, love and togetherness. It’s something that certain parts of the music industry are really starting to focus in on, and we can only hope that it makes a difference to the people who need it most.

Closing the show, You Me At Six got (almost) everyone to put their phones away and just live in the moment. Again something that a few bands have brought into their sets to create a memory for their fans that will live for so much longer and mean so much more than a blurry video.

Following this tour, who knows what we can expect from You Me At Six.. an anniversary tour, new music? But what we do know is, that they will not be going anywhere any time soon.

You Me At Six - Manchester Academy (2nd April 2017)

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