LIVE: You Me At Six / Marmozets / The Xcerts ‘Take Off Your Colours 10 Year Anniversary Tour’ @ O2 Academy Brixton

By Yasmin Brown

There always seems to be a greater appreciation for music with every year that passes since its release, and with 10 years having gone by since You Me At Six unleashed their debut album ‘Take Off Your Colours’, it’s unsurprising that it’s their most popular album to date. Its catchy pop-punk hooks are as entertaining today as they were back in 2008, and the too-vibrant colours that plagued this genre in the early 2000s now feel more comfortably nostalgic than blinding.

This is general consensus among YMAS fans, as proven by the relentless pressure that was placed on the band to embark on a 10 year anniversary tour for this album – thankfully resulting in them giving in to the requests and announcing 12 shows across the UK and Ireland.

The band made it abundantly clear that this was all for us, highlighting once more how much they appreciate their fans, and the gratitude that we felt in return was made evident by the fact that it was almost impossible to manoeuvre your way through the crowd. When they said ‘sold out’, they meant it.

The crowd was made up of millennials whose teenage angst was defined by albums such as this, and the child-like excitement that spread throughout the crowd following support acts The Xcerts and Marmozets was contagious. From the very first moment, each and every fan screamed along to every lyric as though their lives depended on it, fully aware that this may well be the first and last time they would ever see some of these songs played live.

If the yells that accompanied opening chords of ‘The Truth Is A Terrible Thing’ were loud, then those that came with the start of ‘Gossip’ were downright deafening. The band may have played their way through it as swiftly as possible, but armed with the knowledge that YMAS hate it so much, the fans made the most of every second of the three minute performance.

As with the performance of ‘Save It For the Bedroom’ that we’d seen two nights earlier on the ‘VI’ tour, Josh Franceschi anecdotally explained that this was just one of the many moments throughout the evening where he was about to “be a little prick”, once again encouraging as many people to crowd surf as humanly possible in return for a high five. Security could barely keep up, and those of us that chose to stay put spent the next few minutes constantly pushing flailing limbs forwards towards the stage.

Every song brought back a memory: ‘Tigers and Sharks’ reminded you of your first love, ‘Take Off Your Colours’ of the very moment you decided to stop caring about the haters and be entirely yourself… It was a throwback that we all craved, even if we hadn’t known it up until that point, and every song allowed you to fondly look back at a carefree youth that felt oh so difficult at the time.

Nostalgic recollection of that innocent teenage pain peaked with a magical performance of ‘Always Attract’ – a timeless, heart wrenching ballad that continues to leave you feeling choked up even after all this time. Part way through the performance, Josh’s sister, Elissa – who features on the album – joined him on the stage, her angelic and flawless vocals a welcome addition to the evening.

Not feeling content enough with being on stage, Josh took the opportunity to jump into the crowd for the final track on TOYC, ‘The Rumour’. This is a song that was made to be performed live, highlighted as 5,000 attendees sung the band off stage to the line, “Hold your hands in, into the air. Hold your hands up as if you care”, obediently raising our arms as we did so.

This marked the end of the first part of the set, but there were still 7 more songs to come, including (much to our delight) ‘Take Off Your Colours’ bonus tracks, ‘Finders Keepers’ and ‘Kiss and Tell’.

Prior to this, though, one patron was removed from the venue during ‘Reckless’ after Josh halted the show to call him out for fighting in the pit, stating that “this fucking house is about love”. This only furthered the notion that You Me At Six are a band that cares for their fans, with zero tolerance for violence or hatred.

There were mixed feelings as the show continued, but ultimately any disappointment that this kind of behaviour still occurs was masked by a sweet satisfaction that this particular attendee was unable enjoy the final few (and some of the best) songs of the night.  ‘I O U’ offered the perfect opportunity of a boogie (and we do not use this word lightly), whereas finale, ‘Underdog’, as always, felt like a reunion between old friends, causing you to leave the venue feeling fulfilled, broken and hoarse – all at the same time.