Review: All Time Low and You Me At Six at The O2 Arena, London (14/02/15)

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Baltimore pop-punks All Time Low and Surrey quintet You Me At Six finished off their five-date co-headline tour at London’s O2 Arena, giving everyone a Valentine’s Day to remember.

Having both formed a little over ten years ago, and emerged onto the pop-rock scene a few years later, All Time Low and You Me At Six are often coupled together as two of the most well-known names in radio-friendly modern rock. With the two bands sharing a large proportion of fans, then, a co-headline tour would certainly seem like a brilliant idea to all involved. However, true co-headline tours are tricky to pull off. There’s the risk that one band might far outshine the other, showing up their so-called equals. But, thankfully, this isn’t the case tonight. Both bands come out on top, proving that they both deserve to be exactly where they are.

All Time Low open confidently with Don’t Panic’s ‘A Love Like War’, and quickly turn the O2 into a jumping, fist-pumping frenzy with fan favourite ‘Lost In Stereo’. The band are consistently energetic, almost never letting up in pace, with ‘Somewhere In Neverland’ sounding as big as ever and Dirty Work’s ‘Time Bomb’ inducing an arena-sized sing-along.

Throughout their set, the Baltimore quartet command the stage not only with their tight and energetic performance, but also with their infectious charisma. There’s no doubt that All Time Low are, quite simply, a fun live band. There’s silly jokes, jibes and banter a-plenty, but the quips (and not to mention the growing collection of female underwear on guitarist Jack Barakat’s microphone stand) certainly don’t render All Time Low musically immature. This bravado doesn’t take anything away from, for instance, the wonderfully understated first verse of ‘Weightless’, where frontman Alex Gaskarth needs nothing but his guitar and some assistance from the voices of the crowd. Nor does it dilute the poignancy of an acoustic version of ‘Therapy’, which sees some truly excellent vocals from Gaskarth, and is a sure highlight of the night, with thousands of smartphones illuminating the arena.

As soon as co-headliners You Me At Six take to the stage with Cavalier Youth’s ‘Room To Breathe’, there’s a different vibe. It’s moodier, darker. Frontman Josh Franceschi reminds the crowd how You Me At Six began, just half an hour down the road in Surrey, and you can’t help but get the sense that this band is a very different band to the teenagers who emerged almost ten years ago. Tonight, they’re a self-assured, strong unit, with hard-hitters like ‘The Consequence’ and ‘Bite My Tongue’ sounding weighty and powerful. Elsewhere, catchy favourites like ‘Underdog’ and ‘Mr. Reckless’ have the entirety of the O2 off their feet, setting the arena alight.

Taking the tempo down a notch on ‘No One Does It Better’ and ‘Crash’, the band’s melodies are carried by an arena-full of eagerly singing voices, a testament to how far the Surrey quintet have come. Closing with a huge, soaring rendition of ‘Lived A Lie’, You Me At Six join their co-headliners in finishing on a definite high.

After tonight, it’s clear that both All Time Low and You Me At Six are equally and absolutely capable of taking the O2 firmly in their grasp. Both are bands with their own distinct identities – identities that they’ve worked hard to form and feel comfortable with. Now, All Time Low and You Me At Six know exactly who they are, and, more importantly, where they’re going. And that can only be up.

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Final year English Literature student. Often found making lots of noise behind a drum kit. Also a writer of album & live reviews, features and news articles.

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