“The most important thing about rock music is us being there playing our music in front of people,” You Me At Six rhythm guitarist Max Helyer said in a recent interview with Alter The Press!. After seeing You Me At Six, the British rock quintet, live last week, I can safely say that Helyer meant what he said.
Up on the second floor of the venue, the night began with a special acoustic set from the band, only available to a hundred or so lucky ticketholders. Situated in front of a window overlooking the concert floor, the members managed to inject energy into the chill acoustic setting, igniting participation from the audience by altering the tempo of three songs from their newest release Cavalier Youth.
You Me At Six hails from London where they possess an established fanbase, exemplified by their sold-out Wembley Arena concert in Dec. 2012. However, when touring the United States, the group headlines clubs, attracting a relatively small but devoted crowd that is, albeit, steadily increasing.
Stars In Stereo, an all-black-clad emo rock band from Los Angeles, opened the show. Up until this point, their exposure in the scene was minimal, and the members, after a genuine amount of effort, seemed disappointed from the lack of crowd engagement. It was my first time seeing Stars In Stereo, and while I enjoyed their set, there was not much variety. I found myself wondering if the group will eventually grow into themselves more, find a niche in the underground scene, and acquire a stronger following in the future.
I bought tickets for You Me At Six’s North American tour, originally scheduled for this spring; however, it was postponed until the fall when lead singer Josh Franceschi got put on vocal rest in April. Needless to say, the Sept. 30 show was a long time coming. And by “long time” I do not only mean the six months I sat on the tickets. I mean the year and a half since the band last played in Florida, or in the Southeast for that matter.
After Stars In Stereos came Young Guns, the wildcard band with which I unintentionally became enamored weeks preceding the show. Like You Me At Six, the rock band from London maintains sturdy support in the United Kingdom, playing main stage at Reading and Leeds this past August. They did not disappoint. Most of the crowd, unlike myself, had not heard of Young Guns prior (I spent the entire time before they played convincing everyone around me that the next band was going to knock their socks off, with that exact wording). The lead singer commanded and mesmerized the crowd, leading them through the exciting songs, creating a set that was unique, making me want to come back for more. It was apparent that they were accustomed to larger audiences, which played in their favor, animating the club amid a backdrop of colorful, but not distracting, lights. It was Young Gun’s first time playing in Orlando. I have a feeling that when they return their following will have expanded.
Firestone Live, a nightclub slash music venue, hosted the show. After years of attending concerts in downtown Orlando, I am quite acquainted with the area’s venues; however, I had never been to this one. Or heard of this one. Actually, no one really had. And I quickly discovered the reason why. While the club was aesthetically pleasing, with its futuristic bars, its exposed brick, its sectioned off seating area and its massive speakers that blocked the sides of the stage for short kids like me, it did not appear to be a place where this kind of concert occurs.
Young Guns would have stole the night for me if any band other than You Me At Six were headlining the tour. Acclimated to extensive arenas in the United Kingdom, the Firestone Live was no match for You Me At Six; the group knew how to emerge onto the stage and within two songs have every person in the crowd eating from the palms of their hands. A comfortable and satisfying mix of old and new material, the set was consistently high energy, stuffed with their most ebullient songs, never taking a moment to breathe. But the fast pace worked. It kept the crowd on their feet and the room alive. Each member had their own presence, pulling your eye to every corner of the stage simultaneously.
However, it was hard not to be captivated with Josh Franceschi, the band’s frontman. His passion was blatantly evident. His desire to impress was apparent. His job was to make sure everyone in that room had a good time. And he succeeded. By the last three songs, Franceschi begged the crowd to put away their cell phones and live purely in that moment. When some did not listen, he confiscated the devices and placed them at the bottom of the drum kit until the song ceased. During that same song, he demanded a circle pit, and even after an exhausting hour plus set, a circle pit was what he received.
Whether playing the tiny Firestone Live or the vast Wembley Arena, You Me At Six is the type of act that invests an intense amount of effort into their live performances. Throughout the whole show, a single thought kept coming to mind: how many people over in the United Kingdom, who are currently buying tickets to the band’s massive 2015 co-headlining arena tour, would want to be where I was. Standing in a compact nightclub, I watched the show inches away from the stage, reaching out my hand, almost touching the members’ instruments, coming in eye contact with Franceshi. Depending on what the near future brings for You Me At Six, the privilege I had on Sept. 30 may soon vanish as the band’s popularity breaks in the United States. Until then, I can relish that the year and a half wait since You Me At Six’s last show in Orlando was all worth the wait.
Information for this article was taken from http://www.alterthepress.com/2014/09/atp-interview-you-me-at-six.html.