LIVE REVIEW: You Me At Six, Waterparks, The Maine, Bears In Trees, Alexandra Palace, London, 11/02/2023
Photo Credit: Shiona Walker (3rd February – Barrowlands, Glasgow)
Picture the scene. It’s the day after British pop-rock heavyweights You Me At Six dropped their eighth studio effort TRUTH DECAY, an album that encapsulates the sonic identity these Surrey rockers have been building up the entire stretch of their career, whilst dealing with tackling turbulent and tough topics in one of the mist truthful and honest bodies of work this band have released to date. It’s safe to say in the midst of the UK touring cycle that accompanies TRUTH DECAY and in the album’s race to chart success, there was an infectious buzz surrounding North London on Saturday 11th February.
Filling the echoes that their fellow modern British rock counterparts Architects and Enter Shikari have done recently, You Me At Six pack out Ally Pally, proving they are no longer the underdogs of their scene no more.
Croydon indie rockers Bears In Trees (6.5/10), Arizona rockers The Maine (7/10) and fun loving pop punkers Waterparks (7.5/10) warm up Ally Pally for the arrival of the sixers leaders themselves. A transatlantic cross section that moulds warm, fuzzy familiar indie with heavier sounding rock bangers, alongside audacious, outspoken and tongue and cheek pop punk tunes, Bears In Trees, The Maine and Waterparks put on semi decent sounding performances, ones that were fun loving but lacked anything stand out rememberable.
As the buzz of the bass from the backing track riles up thousands of sixers turning out to see their underdogs, You Me At Six arrive at Ally Pally in style. Suited in smart casual black suits, the Surrey quintet clearly flashing the big bucks on increased budget for stage and lighting production, arrive at Ally Pally illuminated by a diamond shape formation to kick off perhaps the pinnacle era of this band with TRUTH DECAY favourite Deep Cuts, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers esque guitar riff that commences the song and Kasabian like attitude that laces it’s attitude driven lyrics making You Me At Six’s presence unmistakable and unnoticeable.
TRUTH DECAY tracks take the reins for the majority of the evening, album singles such as Heartless pulsating an electrifying heartbeat through the Palace, as well as the industrial noise rock banger No Future? (Yeah Right) battering everyone ten times harder in the face with collaborator and Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds’ hardcore screams claiming a case that No Future? (Yeah Right) sounds even more bombastic live in comparison to its original recording. Topping off the TRUTH DECAY bill comes God Bless The 90’s Kids, an admittedly mediocre song that has been the subject of stick for its lacklustre lyrics by online naysayers, but there is no denying it’s singalong appeal and rally cry style to the underrated youth and misfits that feel like they have no place in the world, “God bless the 90s kids, 21st century misfits” echoing around the cold walls of Ally Pally.
When you are a band eight albums deep like You Me At Six are and with a legion of dedicated Sixers to please, bypassing the anthems that have shaped thou fans’ youth probably isn’t an option. From throwing it back to the ethereal days of Caliver Youth with Fresh Start Fever, Too Young To Feel This Old and Cold Night, the band then fill the VI and SUKAPUNCH blank gaps with summer ready anthems Straight To My Head and punchy rock banger What’s It Like? transporting many back to Reading Festival 2019, the year of a sweltering heat wave edition of the dual festival, these two tracks being a small part of that Summer’s sweltering soundtrack.
In between, You Me At Six’s setlist is filled with some absolute YMAS classics that can’t go a miss. “Ladies and gentlemen of London Town, we go by the name of You Me At Six. This song goes out to anyone who is passed off and feels misrepresented. This song is called Bite My Tongue” declares vocalist Josh Franceschi and unlike Rou Reynolds sunrise appearance, Franceschi took on Oli Sykes’ part like an absolute pro, belting out metalcore style screams that give Sykes a run for his millions.
“The final part of this show is called pure filth. Nothing but bangers” introduces Josh to the encore otherwise known as perhaps the band’s best run of songs for the entire night. From the adrenaline packed SUCKAPUNCH to smash hit Underdog and The Killers rip off Reckless to pop rock perfect closer Beautiful Way, You Me At Six have become a band made to fill out arenas and palaces, and on their UK run of shows showcasing their recent record TRUTH DECAY, they prove they are in fact top dogs in their field.
Written By: Katie Conway-Flood