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Live Review: You Me At Six
In an intimate space, You Me At Six re-imagined anthems new and old on an acoustic scale, writes Eleanor Horne
You Me At Six have been touring HMVs this October to promote their new album VI. On October 8th, they performed a short acoustic set at Birmingham Bullring HMV, followed by an opportunity to meet the band. The setup was simple – a corner of the shop had been cleared, displays pushed to the side, and speakers and gear set up in their place. The crowd was a metre away from the ‘stage’ which gave it an intimate quality - exactly the feeling that acoustic gigs should give.
VI’s opening track ‘Fast Forward’ appropriately opened the show. It is an electric guitar-heavy song, but its intense, broody sound was not lost in the acoustic setting. It was punchy even when stripped down, and the no-nonsense delivery of Josh Franceschi seamlessly eased the song from anthemic rock to acoustic. ‘3AM’, which was released as a double A-side single with ‘Fast Forward’ back in June of this year, is more indie rock sounding than ‘Fast Forward.’ This is also the case with ‘Back Again,’ which is similar to ‘3AM’ stylistically but is bouncier and more upbeat. Both songs worked well in an acoustic style and got plenty of fans singing along. ‘Straight to my Head’ was the only non-single from VI to make it into the performance, but it deserved its place. While it has been out for less than a week, it is rightly already a fan favourite. This is a song that is likely to be in You Me At Six’s live catalogue for years to come.
“('Fast Forward') is an electric guitar-heavy song, but its intense, broody sound was not lost in the acoustic setting. It was punchy even when stripped down
Closing the performance was a rarity from their debut album Take Off Your Colours, which they are touring alongside their UK shows in November and December to celebrate 10 years since its release. ‘Always Attract’ is a beautiful, mostly acoustic song, so it worked amazingly well in this environment. Only Josh and Chris Miller (guitar) remained by this point - nothing more than acoustic guitar and voice was needed for this song, and it was its simplicity that made it beautiful. It was a pure trip down memory lane for many, and much of the crowd was singing along. A moving, heartfelt and poignant conclusion, and the highlight for many in attendance.
A level of friendly banter throughout sustained interest even in the gaps between the songs. Josh was consistently chatty both with his own bandmates and the crowd. When Max Helyer (guitar) Matt Barnes (bass) and Dan Flint (drums) left early, they played it off that they were leaving to ‘get beer,’ much to the audience’s amusement. On one occasion, Josh couldn’t work out the key of a song the band had been planning to play, so after several short attempts he decided to just leave it and move onto the next one. While this clearly entertained the crowd, it also shows a deeper integrity to the band- determined to deliver an incredible performance and fully prepared to scrap any elements that compromise this.
The signing that followed the performance had the same laid back and informal atmosphere that there had been in the show. Josh, Chris, Dan, Max and Matt are five easy-going individuals who clearly have no interest in the obnoxious, egotistical rock star stereotype, and their consistent friendliness rejected the ‘never meet your heroes’ maxim. The performance, combined with the opportunity to meet the band, made for an unforgettable afternoon. Josh pulled off high notes superbly and clearly has a natural voice outside of the studio as well, and Dan, Max, Chris and Matt each delivered equally flawless performances. You Me At Six are a band of genuine talent in an increasingly commercialised industry, and their performance cemented this fact.