LIVE: You Me At Six @ Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

By Ben Tipple

You Me At Six have spent the last year holed up in Nashville, Tennessee recording their recently announced ‘Night People’ LP, the band’s fourth including the breakthrough ‘Take Off Your Colours’. Marking their second date on a somewhat understated jaunt across the UK, taking to venues and cities otherwise excluded from more prominent tours, tonight’s appearance in Folkestone at the charmingly dilapidated Leas Cliff Hall offers the opportunity to reaffirm their performance skills, and ultimately their status.

It’s frustratingly easy to become complacent with bands such as You Me At Six. Despite their comparable tenure in the melodic rock scene, their decade long career has spawned countless sound-alikes, unavoidably enveloping the Surrey quintet in a sea of mediocrity. Despite their place as relative forerunners, and their impressive continued success, innovation has long since passed. Yet as the thunderous drums shatter through the vast space and a hooded Josh Franceschi glides into the rarely played ‘When We Were Younger’, You Me At Six substitute innovation for sheer ability.

The first half of the performance is an unparalleled crowd-pleaser. Unquestionably back on top form, and more than once thanking an excitable audience for their rapturous re-welcome, You Me At Six plough relentlessly through the likes of ‘Bite My Tongue’ and ‘Little Death’, before a powerfully delivered ‘Stay With Me’ allows Josh to take a breath. He presents himself gracious and articulate, expressing his newfound love for Folkestone alongside his plea for humanitarian acceptance.

Launching into new track ‘Plus One’, one of three in tonight’s performance, material from their 2017 release sits entirely comfortably intertwined with fan favourites and rare appearances. Closing their three track encore with the more atypical title-track, ‘Night People’, their return is as assured as the song’s driving rhythm.

Yet above and beyond their ability to pen a great track, You Me At Six are more vibrant than ever before. “This is the happiest I have been in over a year,” Josh informs the crowd, and it shows. Far from treading the line, the band appear as reinvigorated by the crowd as the fans appear ecstatic to have them back. The minimal ‘Too Young To Feel This Old’ is beautifully delivered, as are the soaring ‘Forgive And Forget’ and encore opener ‘No One Does It Better’.

The lack of material from their debut tells a tale of evolution; an obvious desire to continue looking forward. Yet the brilliance of ‘Hold Me Down’ runs throughout the set, a sign that they are still rightfully proud of their musical past. In a scene where innovation is difficult at best, You Me At Six cement themselves not only as the forefathers but also the triumphantly returning leaders.