by Chantelle Harvey, contributor
In previous years, You Me At Six arrived on stage with a crash or bang; belting out one of their loudest up-tempo tunes to a wild crowd, grabbing attention and ensuring they kept it. This time however, roughly three years since their last Belfast gig, the five boys from Surrey arrived on stage with a whisper and a rumble, to the slow, steady, and moody ‘When We Were Younger.’ This is You Me At Six in 2016 – they have matured, and so have their audience. Everyone in the sold out Limelight venue held their breath, awaiting their arrival.
As an avid fan of You Me At Six since 2007, it wasn’t until this gig – almost a decade later – that I realised how far the band has come. At their Ulster Hall concert in 2012 they still seemed young, a little clumsy, and finding their feet in the rock music industry. This time, they performed with their own identity – they knew what their fans wanted, how to deliver, and how to make an impact. Most of all they knew who they were, and it was beautiful thing to see.
The questionable setlist excluded even the slightest shadow of their first studio album Take Off Your Colours, and instead of playing all of their greatest singles, they mixed in a few fan-favourite songs with their usual crowd-favourites. While it boggles the mind that ‘Safer to Hate Her’ still makes a YMAS setlist, it was welcomed by a much stronger live performance. You Me At Six looked comfortable owning the stage and working their adoring audience, and much more happier than their tour in 2012.
Their new song ‘Plus One’, from their new studio album Night People due in January 2017, was a real highlight from the overall concert. With its pounding guitars and smooth bassline it already seemed a crowd pleaser. A new rendition of ‘Too Young to Feel This Old’, introduced with a comment on the current state of world politics, was an appreciated departure from their usual slow songs mid-concert. On the other hand, fan favourites ‘Underdog’, ‘Bite My Tongue’, ‘Reckless’, and ‘No One Does it Better’ kept the friendly crowd entertained and belting out the hits with such a roaring unity that Josh sometimes felt overpowered.
Overall, it was refreshing to see a band that struggled and strived to reach stadium heights play an intimate gig in Limelight. From their new sound to their newfound identity, You Me At Six may be under the age of 30, and ten years into their career, but they won’t be going away anytime soon.
You can pre-order You Me At Six’s fifth studio album Night People in music outlets now.