Words & pics by Eleanor Sutcliffe
From the queues of fans snaking around the O2 Academy in all directions, it’s clear to see that You Me At Six still have a dedicated fan base. Groups of youngsters, decked in band hoodies and Vans trainers, sit on the ground eating takeaway pizzas that have been delivered to the queue. I get chatting with a group of girls who have been queuing since 12:30pm – an impressive feat, considering that doors weren’t scheduled to open until 7pm.
Security work as quickly as they can to usher everyone inside, and it isn’t long before people are jostling for space in the 3000 capacity venue. I’m interested to see how the night’s first band, Black Foxxes, stand up to the packed crowd; they had played The Rainbow a few months beforehand, so this was a definite leap for the Exeter based trio.
Although seemingly cramped at the front of the stage due to You Me At Six’s piles of gear behind them, Black Foxxes still managed to open strong despite a number of technical mishaps – in all my life I’ve never seen a guitar tech work as quick as theirs did to repair Mark Holley’s broken string.
It was refreshing to see a band who had truly started out small and worked their way to the top with such fierce determination as these guys, and it simply shone through their music. Black Foxxes’ depressive rock flirted expertly with soulful melodies, descending at times to tones so inexplicably raw I felt they could be carving out their own genre.
Next were Tonight Alive – one of the few mainstream alternative rock bands to be female fronted. Jenna McDougal is seen as a rebelling goddess by much of the band’s female fanbase, and played on this by cavorting across the stage in a pair of white angel wings. The hit and miss sound was made up for by the band’s theatrics, while the lighting was simple superb. Although I’m not a huge fan of the Tonight Alive’s latest releases, they went down just as well with the crowd as their older heavier material.
When You Me At Six took to the stage, I was scared the crowd barrier may snap from the thousands of people who surged forward. Kicking off with their latest single, ‘Night People’, the band went on to deliver one of the most astounding sets I think I’ve ever seen.
Cycling through some of their better known hits such as ‘Underdog’ and ‘Save It For The Bedroom’, with some of their newer material thrown in, it was clear to see that these boys won’t be slowing down any time soon.
Plus if you’re a true lover of good sound then it’s worth seeing You Me At Six play live just to listen to their technician’s mix – as true to the albums as you could possibly get. Complimented by an incredibly designed light show, it made for an impressive looking and sounding production.
Josh Franceschi interacted with the sold out O2 Academy crowd on a truly intimate level, preaching the band’s beliefs of equality and love for all. And finishing with the track ‘Room to Breathe’, from their No1 album Cavalier Youth, it’s clear to see that You Me At Six are still working hard – paving their way on the alternative rock scene.
You Me At Six @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 10.04.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Brmingham Review
For more on You Me at Six, visit www.youmeatsix.co.uk
Tonight Alive – supporting You Me At Six @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 10.04.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Tonight Alive, visit www.tonightaliveofficial.com
Black Foxxes – supporting You Me At Six @ O2 Academy (B’ham) 10.04.17 / Eleanor Sutcliffe – Birmingham Review
For more on Black Foxxes, visit www.blackfoxxes.com
For more from the O2 Academy (B’ham), including full event listing and online ticket sales, visit www.academymusicgroup.com/o2institutebirmingham
For more from Kilimanjaro Live, visit www.kilimanjarolive.co.uk