All Time Low & You Me At Six @ Manchester Arena
If you ever want to feel really young again or just fancy reliving your youth for the night I can not recommend going to a pop punk concert enough. For many of us it’s a genre that was heavily present in our youth and it carries on effecting teenagers and young adults across the word, constantly gaining new fans and enthusiasts. On Friday 13th February, the massive Manchester Arena was filled with pop punk fans both young and old, clamouring to see All Time Low and You Me At Six take the stage for a gig I won’t soon forget.
Walk The Moon, the support act KUBE have been fortunate enough to interview, kicked everything off with a colourful, lively sound that got the crowd in the right mood for the headliners. If I’m completely honest, I wasn’t too blown away when I heard these guys recorded but seeing them live was a whole other experience – they seem to take on a whole other energy when performing live that can’t quite be summed up in a music video and they definitely changed my opinion for the better. Finishing off with their single Shut Up and Dance With Me was a great move as the easy chorus was quickly picked up by the now warmed up audience who got fully into the song; I’d be surprised if they didn’t walk away from that (pretty hefty) support slot with a fair few new fans!
I can’t say that I was ever a huge All Time Low fan, and only really know two of their songs, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to make of the Baltimore band. At this point the crowd around me were pretty young and it was like being surrounded by different versions of my 15/16 year old self. Given that All Time Low have few songs which aren’t heavily laden with energy and shouty lyrics the whole crowd, from where I was standing anyway, were going a bit mental at every chorus. I managed to suppress my elderly grumpiness and just go with it though, making it a far more enjoyable experience all round.
Mid way through their set, All Time Low called upon some fans at the barrier to join them on stage to sing Time Bomb. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of emo kids as happy as those guys and can’t think of a better reason to lose your place at the front of a gig… especially considering one (male) fan left the stage having had the guitarist’s head up his shirt licking a nipple. To be honest, that sentence, plus the admirable collection of bras that were accumulated on the mic stand, pretty much sums up the general loopiness of All Time Low who must be one of the most fun bands I’ve ever seen live.
You Me At Six were undoubtedly the highlight of the night. Whilst All Time Low have kept to the happy, pop punk style that gained them fame, You Me At Six have shown a greater growth in their music and, with this year marking ten years of the group being together, the set really reflected the different stages of YM@S. At this point I started to feel a little less old as the rest of the 20-something year old You Me At Six fans moved forward from the back where they had been keeping out of the way. It was a pretty darkly lit set which was great for the atmosphere and image they’ve been creating with the last two albums though gold confetti, beach balls and fireworks meant the visuals remained exciting.
They unfortunately omitted anything from their first album (gutted, really fancied hearing Kiss and Tell) but gave us a good fix from ‘Hold Me Down’, playing both Underdog and Stay With Me. In a way it was a bit weird seeing a grown up YM@S revisit tracks they released as long haired scene kids but it would almost have been a crime to skip them, given the huge audience reaction. The focus seemed to be directed more towards songs released on ‘Sinners Never Sleep’ with Loverboy, The Dilemma, Crash and Reckless all getting a spot on the set list; Bite My Tongue also made an appearance with Josh Franceschi taking on the screamer section normally performed by Ollie Sykes. There wasn’t a single moment in the set that fell flat with the crowd and newer songs like Fresh Start Fever and Carpe Diem were appreciated just as much as the classics.
Though I expected to enjoy myself I came out of the venue having had a lot more fun than I had imagined. Regardless of genre, not enough can be said as to how beneficial seeing a band you grew up with live is for your mental health and the effect of any gig is multiplied when in a venue as massive as the Manchester Arena. I’m going to be looking out for all three bands at their next UK shows and would happily pay the £30+ to see that show again.
Photo credit – Giles Smith via You Me At Six on Facebook