Wednesday, October 23, 2019

LIVE REVIEW: Surrey’s You Me At Six are ‘Back Again’ in America and it’s flawless

LIVE REVIEW: Surrey’s You Me At Six are ‘Back Again’ in America and it’s flawless

There is something incredibly special about getting to see UK bands in the states. Especially ones that headline arenas back home and one of those bands that created a magical experience were Surrey’s You Me At Six when they started their tour in Boston at Brighton Music Hall Thursday night. While the room was packed and I believe ended up selling out, the crowd of 500 or so were hooked on every note of the bands’ headlining performance. But before I get ahead of myself, the tour’s main support, Dreamers and openers Machineheart each had their time to shine and both were stellar.

The tour features two bands that both call Los Angeles home and brought something equally different to the table. First up was Machineheart, fronted by ethereal Stevie Scott, and full of longtime friends from previous acts. The band’s debut album came out two weeks ago yesterday and being so new was the definite focus for the bands’ set. In fact, their set was composed exclusively of songs off the new album despite seeing success in the past with their EP’s. But it makes sense considering how long the album has been in the making. In speaking to the band prior to the show, it was talked about how the album has been something that’s been finished for over a year so clearly, it was ready to be birthed.

The band’s time spent together and love for each other is clear when watching the live show. It’s a low key vibe live for the band but it was perfect for the start of the night. Making it look effortless, Scott’s slightly twangy and smokey sounding voice was matched with a minimalist stage outfit and the crowd was living for it. Mentioning that the band wasn’t able to have a soundcheck, it was hard to believe as the set flowed flawlessly. Big standouts for me were ‘Peace of Mind’ and ‘Who Said’, which got a huge whoop from the crowd and of course ending on current single ‘Altar’ was a great way for the crowd to get rocking for what was to come.

Next up are a band that are no strangers to Boston, playing Boston at least every six months or so for the duration of their touring career with their last show in town being a headline show at the same venue!  Even though Dreamers has been gunning for several years now and have been achieving great success, their brand new single ‘Die Happy’ is an absolute smash that is sure to bring Dreamers to the top of the alt charts. The audience were the lucky recipients of the band’s debut live performance of the track and the internet is already buzzing about it. I can see it absolutely crushing it as a summertime anthem once it picks up steam and could be a serious game changer for the band.

Of course, in addition to the new track, the band’s live performance has always progressed and it’s one that I’ve seen since I started covering the band since their debut headlining tour in 2015. This set was no different. The band shone in pink light with one in white, one in blue and one in pink and the aesthetic was strong. As well as the aesthetic, the band rocked their way through a set filled with both old and new favorites. Opening up the set with recent fan favorite ‘Screws’, the set also included biggies like ‘Painkiller’, ‘Wolves’, and ‘Sweet Disaster’, which their fans went wild for. There were a good amount of people who were there clearly for them and it was a great thing to see after the show I covered Tuesday where there were maybe five people in a room of 2,500 singing the words and freaking out over each opener.

But those that were there for You Me At Six and maybe hadn’t taken the time to check out the band started yelling ‘Oh, okay! Yeah okay!’ in loving the first few notes of ‘Painkiller’ and being straight hooked. With the same enthusiasm for the final song of the set with ‘Sweet Disaster’ that was introduced by vocalist Nick Wold saying, “This is a song about getting drunk with people you love, which is what we’re going to do tonight”.

About thirty minutes later, the headliners of the night, You Me At Six, took the stage to huge and well-deserved roars from the crowd. The band hasn’t been in Boston since May of 2017 and it was clear that they were sorely missed. While the show was a great one then, Thursday night’s show, it just seemed on a whole different level. The crowd and the band’s interaction seemed unreal. Opening with ‘Fast Forward’ off their latest record “VI”, which dropped last October, the crowd’s reaction went from zero to sixty. With the success and acceptance of the new album in the crowd, the energy only got more palpable as the set continued.

The band’s set relied heavily on the more recent albums with standouts like ‘Night People’ and of course the brand new track ‘Back Again’ but also pandered to longtime fans with tracks like ‘Reckless’ and ‘Bite My Tongue’. With the former transitioning into a cover of ‘Best of You’ by The Foo Fighters which clearly put me over the edge in the best of ways. As well as with ‘Bite My Tongue’, as frontman Josh Franceschi sang Bring Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes part, the whole crowd loudly sang the ‘Fuck you!’ and it brought huge smiles to everyone’s faces.

While some of the band’s biggest fan favorites were noticeably missing from the set like ‘Crash’, ‘Fireworks’, and ‘Liquid Confidence’ it didn’t disappoint the fans. Considering the amount of time it’s been since the band has been stateside and the direction their music has been going, it’s clear the band wanted to put on the highest energy and rocking set they could. And the crowd was incredibly satisfied!  The band finished their set with ‘Bite My Tongue’ and make a quick exit but only to come back for an incredibly well received four song encore which is definitely rare. With the encore containing the anthemic ‘Room to Breathe’ to ‘No One Does it Better’ to ‘Underdog’, the crowd and the band were clearly connecting on a level that was touching and sincere. It even included a beautiful moment where Franceschi encouraged the crowd to turn on their flashlight apps and he talked about how important it is to be kind. Asking people to even in this room, to turn and smile at a stranger. Emphasizing that point and how much it could mean to someone, it made for a beautiful end to an incredible first night of the tour.

Covering the band since 2010, it was incredible to see permanent grins across their faces during the encore and it’s only a clear indication that I’m sure the band will be back soon. And Boston will be here for it!  We in this city are incredibly lucky that UK bands like to come visit us and hopefully it is a trend that will never go away. We get arena rock performances because that’s what these bands are used to in these small intimate clubs and that’s a gorgeous thing.  Appreciate your international bands, go see their shows, show your appreciation through singing your heart out and dancing unabashedly. And definitely check out this tour who finds itself’ in Philly tonight!