[LIVE REVIEW] You Me At Six Return To Kingston

It’s been three years since Surrey rockers You Me At Six released fresh material, so the announcement of new album ‘Night People’ caused quite a commotion. Tonight, they play an acoustic set at the Rose Theatre in Kingston to celebrate its release.

Kicking into their acoustic set with the colourful sound of ‘Heavy Soul’, it’s clear to see the quintet has been missed. The break seems to have done them well, however – frontman Josh Franceschi’s vocals sound better than ever, with a rough, gravelly undertone that wasn’t present before. The music hits all the right places too: it’s bursting with life, guitars thrumming effortlessly and drums biting through to the surface.

The sounds of ‘Lived A Lie’ seem to affect everyone in the room; it’s in every vein and every mind with it’s cutting, in-depth lyrics and snazzy percussion, while ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ provides more of a pop feel with vocals not unlike velvet and even smoother lyrics such as ‘can we learn to love again/can we learn to live again’.

‘Loverboy’ is an arena-sized anthem crammed into the sold out 900-capacity venue, and the opening chants layered on top of sharp, resounding riffs vibrates through the walls. ‘Stay With Me’ – You Me At Six’s most played song – takes the place of highlight of the evening, with the emphasis placed heavily on Franceschi’s voice. At points it’s soft, a gentle caress akin to a whisper, but sometimes it’s harsh and heavy, portraying meaning that’s out of reach to listeners.

The focus of tonight, however, is clearly on new album ‘Night People’ ­– with six of the thirteen songs coming from the record. The frontman dedicates ‘Take On The World’ to his fiancée, creating a meaningful moment throughout the room that’s punctuated by the gentle yet steady thrum of acoustic guitars. The title track is punchy and electric (even without the use of amps), and the layers of the song are definitely not lost when stripped down.

Despite this set being a commemoration of ‘Night People’, it’s more than disappointing that the list isn’t more varied. There were no songs from debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’, which is surprising to say the least, given that single ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ catapulted the quintet into stardom. And there was only one song from both ‘Hold Me Down’ and ‘Sinners Never Sleep’. You’d be forgiven for thinking this was an entirely different band.

If later You Me At Six material is your thing, however, you’re in for a treat. The intimate venue only served to bring the band into sharper focus, and the reasons they won the Kerrang! Award for Best British Band five years ago are right in your face. The musicians bounce off each other to create a new sense of energy that shows they’re focused on the future and the future alone.

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