Live Report: You Me At Six – Garage, London
2021 was quite the year for You Me At Six; with ‘SUCKAPUNCH’ hitting number one in the UK charts, as well as celebrating a decade of their iconic sophomore record ‘Hold Me Down’, last year truly shone a respective spotlight on both the past and the present of these iconic alt-rockers. But what does the future hold? Well, it seems like the 2021 era clash did not go amiss in camp YMAS either – upcoming release ‘Truth Decay’, out February 10th, is shaping up to be the ultimate Frankensteinian creation, revitalising their emo roots and coating them with a fresh lick of paint.
And that sensation, that modern-emo edge, is exactly what tonight aims to capture. Wandering into The Garage for this Amazon Music supported show is like being transported back into your teenage bedroom, not an inch of wall visible through the scattering of fiery red posters. You Me At Six stare at you, a Josh Franceschi of every age and era never escaping your eyeline, while other corners of the venue are coated with gutsy, heart-on-wrist lyrics. By the time our host, the glorious Sophie K, takes to the stage, everyone is ready for some throwback bangers and spanking new tunes.
Cody Frost’s set easily warms up the crowd. As soon as her blazing red, devil-horned head of hair bounds onstage, the room is more than happy to heed her cries. It’s a set that sparkles and thrives, a ravepunk fusion that leans heavily into its danceability. Tongue-in-cheek and infectious, Cody’s sound is a killer combo.
Primed and raring to go, the eventual arrival of You Me At Six is met with riotous cheers – a sound that only amplifies when the group immediately burst into ‘DEEP CUTS’. The crowd howl along to the track with such familiarity and gusto that one wouldn’t be judged for considering it an actual deep cut – it’s an energy one might initially assign to the band’s debut, yet it sits proudly on their new record. The enthusiasm isn’t far off the response to following track, the classic ‘Fresh Start Fever’. It serves as the perfect tease of what the album has the potential to be, and just how eagerly fans will eat it up.
Other tracks from the upcoming album are met with a healthy level of hype. Though not as ferocious as the ‘DEEP CUTS’ uproad, the live debuts of ‘heartLESS’ and ‘Mixed Emotions (I Didn’t Know How To Tell You What I Was Going Through)’ are both met with joyous singalongs.
The crowd is also treated to a totally unheard, yet-to-be-released throwback anthem. Franceschi introduces the song by pointing out the chorus’ lyrics plastered on the wall, instructing everyone to “sing along, smile, pretend you’re enjoying it.” And, thankfully, the crowd does. While the lyrics may perhaps toe the line of cliche, you can’t deny that there’s something pretty carefree about howling out “god bess the 90s kids, 21st century misfits.”
Yet nothing can quite compare to the energy in the room when the staple bangers crash out over the crowd. Tracks like ‘Bite My Tongue’, ‘Reckless’ and ‘Underdog’ were designed to get bodies moving – it would be a crime for them to be played without at least one drink flying through the air. ‘Stay With Me’ is also taken out of retirement, and it is met with total adoration – as it deserves!
By the time closing track ‘Beatiful Way’ is ringing out, it’s clear that the fans are contented. The switch-up of the band’s closer (changing from ‘Underdog’ in the last year), still leaves a few confused for a moment, but the change is a sign of the times; You Me At Six are a band that can tap into nostalgia, but that doesn’t mean they can’t continue to evolve. Tonight is surefire proof that YMAS aren’t confining themselves to their past – they may be 90s kids, but they can still push forward into the 21st century.
Words: Emily Swingle