There’s something immediately striking about 4pm doors at a venue. Either the gig-going people of Birmingham are especially unemployed, or they account predominantly for a demographic that might be too young to actually have jobs to go to. Given that the NEC is hosting two pop-rock giants in All Time Low and You Me At Six this evening, and that at least half the crowd look about the right age to have been mothered by some of our writers (ahem!), it’s almost certainly the latter.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and All Time Low have got the memo to well and truly storm the stage – a memo which comes in the form of hysterical screaming anteceding their entrance by a good fifteen minutes or more. Not that they really needed it. With the party already in full swing, it doesn’t take much more than a few emo-esque American boys to truly rile up the mostly teenage fans (and even a few mums and dads!). Thankfully though, there’s more to them than that.
Launching into an impressive set complete with sing-alongs from the get-go, there’s almost nothing to fault these guys on, and, whilst we can never really jump on board with young girls throwing their bras on stage, it’s evidence to the fact that they’re 100% in the realms of ‘hall of fame’ style status.
It would be unfair to completely typecast the lads, however. With an impressive command of the audience, as well as a range of undeniable hits, this is a band easily accessible to all in attendance. By the time they’re launching into the now iconic Dear Maria, Count Me In, fireworks and all, there isn’t a single person able to resist losing their shit.
Either of the two main bands could well have headlined, but tonight, the closing honour comes in the form of Britain’s very own You Me At Six. Over the past few years, this is a band who have more than graduated from the rent-a-support name that so many of our homegrown acts made for themselves back in the MySpace days. Gaining notoriety the world over, these guys are on course for domination, and on nights like this, we’re offered a glimpse as to why.
Although arguably generic in the face of plenty of other talent out there, it’s undeniable that they’ve upped their writing game of late. Plus, credit where credit’s due, frontman Josh Franceschi is on form tonight (despite the fact that he’s quite literally not). Complete with a broken ankle, needlessly apologizing for his demeanor, he gives credence to that old “show must go on” mantra and moves around just as bouncily as if he’d been right as rain.
Determined not to be overshadowed by an impressive light show, the British five piece give it all they’ve got and even manage to carry on when the emergency system plays up a little and demands that everyone evacuate the premises – which as you might imagine, literally nobody pays attention to.
Any losses on bar tonight are easily made up in the droves of young fans who’ve parted ways for tickets to see what we can comfortably assume are their idols. It’s clear that this is a tour that has worked very, very well, merging the crème de la crème from both sides of the Atlantic in such a way that’s so commendable, it’s almost genius.
Written by: Claire Louise Sheridan
Photos by: Hannah Bowns