By Bronagh McManus
With it being almost two years exactly to the date since the Weybridge rockers ‘You Me At Six’ had graced the stage of Manchester’s Apollo, their return to the city was a welcomed and well overdue event. Having supported ’30 Seconds To Mars’ on their last UK tour it was about time the quintet took the lead role as headliners.
With two sold out nights in the Manchester Apollo, a 3,500 people capacitated venue, You Me At Six surely felt the pressure of having to deliver outstanding shows for those who had travelled from near and very much afar. With supports from Cheltenham’s favourite growing talent ‘Young Kato’ and Bedfordshire bad boys ‘Don Broco’ the line-up for the evening was of an unusually high standard.
As 7.30pm arrived on the 30th and 31st March 2014 the lights dipped and the sextet Young Kato walked onto a plainly decorated stage which was littered with of microphones, guitar stands and a solo drum kit. Having played venues like Alter Ego and the Ruby Lounge in Manchester the group were exposed to probably seventy or eighty times their usual turn out in the northern city, a daunting prospect for any group; yet Young Kato showed little signs of nerves as they played. Though their performance was generally well rounded the band needed a little more ‘punch’ to their show. Their musical quality is all means good, hence why I like them, but the band should not be afraid to show their own personal enjoyment of their sounds. A more fluid and somewhat energetic display may have encouraged audiences to engage a little more.
Next up were Don Broco, a band who are renowned for their absolutely killer live performance. Don Broco are in their own right a major leading rock band and tend to shame all groups whom maintain they put on a good live show. The group bounded onto the stage with their opening track ‘You Wanna Know’, a song which practically forced the first five rows of the audience to jump around as the bass and drums rattled through their ears. Their live performance showed a solid ‘kick and charisma’. It was near impossible to ignore their onstage presence as all members, bar drummer Matt Donnelly, practically ran circuits around the stage as they engrossed themselves in their songs. As a supporting act, Don Broco were outstanding and receive full marks for crowd participation as they encouraged everyone to join in with the chorus of their song ‘Yeah Man’. With the audiences’ vocal chords adequately adjusted and prepared for the headliners, Don Broco departed the stage with their legendary hit ‘Priorities’.
As 9.30pm arrived, the temperature in Manchester’s Apollo soared and the air lingered with much excitement and anticipation as thousands waited for the musicians. As the lights dropped a short film collage of You Me At Six’s most recently travels and music videos flashed up on the screen behind the stage, captivating audiences with the visual aid. After thirty seconds or so the screen froze on an image of a small boy running, replicating the album cover of their recently released ‘Cavalier Youth’. Coinciding with this pause was drummer Dan Flint’s arrival, a man who would be sung happy birthday on the second nights as he turned 25. His beating of the drums to ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ (Cavalier Youth) evoked a mass roar from the crowd as the other four members joined him on stage. You Me At Six had a clear confidence and ease with the Manchester crowd, with lead singer Josh Franceschi later telling how it was their seventh time (on the 31st show) of selling out the venue and how their musical journey with Manchester dated back eight years ago when they played a small venue on the university campus (Jabez Clegg). Following on was their single ‘Fresh Start Fever’ upon which the ceiling released an explosion of golden confetti which showered the audience. With mosh pits and crowd surfers galore it was evidently clear it had been too long since You Me At Six had toured the city as the thousands of young people indulged in the incredible live performance the band produced. The evening continued with much vigour and passion as You Me At Six pulled out some of their most cherish hits, though they failed to acknowledge any work off their debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’, an album which brought them much success. It seemed a shame that they ignored their earlier work but performances of the (sort of) golden oldies ‘Underdog’ and ‘Loverboy’ eased the pain somewhat. Their encore included their finest work (‘Reckless’, ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Lived A Lie’) and provided audiences an opportunity to drain the last of their energy. All round, You Me At Six produced two highly memorable nights of live music, proving themselves to be the UK champions of pop-rock music.