YOU ME AT SIX continued their Night People tour with a sell-out show at Middlesbrough’s Empire. With a setlist packed with fan favourite classics as well as a few new tracks, the band gave a passionate performance from the off.
Front-man Josh Franceschi was first on-stage – dressed in black jeans, black boots and massive black coat with the hood up. Just looking at him from the upstairs of the intimate venue was enough to make you sweat. Opening by belting out an emotional rendition of When We Were Younger, the track got heavier and the number of members on stage increased.
Then it kicked off properly. Friday night. Everyone was up for it, and it was evident when Bite My Tongue echoed around the crowd. Franceschi asked: “Can we call you The Toon?” Of course, Smoggies being proud Middlesbrough residents weren’t having this. The chat of: “Tee tee Teessiders,” brought smiles to the faces of You Me At Six.
2011 album Sinners Never Sleep dominated the setlist (to my personal delight) and when Reckless dropped I was transported back to their Leeds Festival Main Stage 2014 performance. This was better though. Far better. Much more atmosphere and they even managed to merge The Killers’ When You Were Young into the end of Reckless. Brilliant.
For a band that have played arenas all over the world, You Me At Six were still lapping up the adoration of the Middlesbrough crowd. Telling the audience: “For an hour we leave the bullshit at the door,” and continued a rant aimed at Donald Trump: “There are people out there who are homophobic and racist. I don’t want you to think the world is full of people like him. The world is a beautiful place. This song is for everyone who enjoys being alive and enjoys what they do!” With that statement, Cavalier Youth‘s Too Young To Feel This Old was performed.
In between the Sinners Never Sleep classics and the Cavalier Youth hits, Plus One from the upcoming release of Night People (out January 13th) was given a run out to an excellent reception. Franceschi and co. left the stage as part of the cliché rock n roll tradition to drive fans into demanding an encore.
It wasn’t long before they returned, though, teasingly saying: “We have one song. We have two songs. We maybe, just maybe, have three songs left for you tonight.”
No One Does It Better, my favourite by You Me At Six, was the first. Room To Breathe was next. Then, fittingly, “A lot of bands say their upcoming albums are the best they’ve written, but we all say that this is the case with Night People,” preached Franceschi. Night People, the lead single from the new album, was belted out. It was anthemic. It was passionate. It was big enough to fill Metro Radio Arena up the road, never mind this tiny venue.
Leaving the stage with a message to please the masses, You Me At Six closed with: “For your fucking information, we have had a sterling evening tonight.”
Support came from Vant – a band familiar to the region as front-man Mattie is a Sunderland lad. Playing some heavy tunes and entertaining those who headed down early for a good spot, a stand-out moment was Mattie saying: “My mam is here tonight and I know I swear. She hasn’t brought me up that way; I’m just a cunt.” The crowd gasped then laughed. That rock n roll, ey?
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Night People is available from 13th January. Pre-order here.