You Me At Six

support Kids In Glass Houses + Ten Second Epic
author TL date 06/10/10 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Flashback to this past Wednesday evening: I'm hurrying from Enghave station to Lille Vega. Why? Because some moron decided that the You Me At Six show would commence at 7:30. I have already had both AP and my girlfriend on my case, telling me that YMAS is a 'little girl's band', and the early scheduling of the show - for which I'm late by the way, it's 7:55 at the moment - has me thinking that maybe I was foolish in arguing with them. I get the same feeling as I make it to the door of the venue, as the usual oomph of a supporting act's bass drum is accompanied by girly squeals of such supersonic pitch that dogs in the general area are likely thinking the day of reckoning is upon them:

Ten Second Epic

With my coat and bag safely deposited in the cloakroom, I ascend to the actual venue-room where Ten Second Epic, to whom I am entirely a new listener, are still playing, and judging from the cacophony of tiny voices emitted from the better part of the thick crowd in the front half of the room, they're not doing too bad for themselves. It doesn't really dawn upon me what everyone is so excited about though, as the sound for one is God-awful, with instrumentals a blurry mess, the vocals mostly drowned out and the all too worrying squeek of a mic coming too close to an amp making frequent appearances. And I'm wearing earplugs so I'm even getting the better end of the deal. As far as visual impression goes, my first thought is one of wonder, as I try to figure out why two guys who look like they belong in As I Lay Dying are slinging guitars in a band that is flat out unashamed pop-rock. It doesn't take me long to realize that I'm being a grumpy old guy however, so I take some mighty swigs of my beer to brighten my own mood, hoping that over the course of the show, the sound will get sorted out and the alcohol will help me find out what's to enjoy about TSE. That's when the show ends. Apparently, TSE have been playing pretty much from the second the door opened (either that, or their bandname is really appropriate), and I've arrived timely enough to only watch one and a half song by them. This is hardly enough basis for a review, let alone a grade, so I'm going to trail this part off without one, but to be fair, a quick visit to the band's myspace reveals to me that these guys could make for decent music for the fans of There For Tomorrow or the likes, and from the little I saw of their show, they had a fair amount of live energy as well, so do give them a chance will you?


Kids In Glass Houses

I set myself up with another beer and have a chat with a friend (the arrival of whom likely raised the average-age of tonight's attendancy significantly and singlehandedly) and within an acceptable period of time, lights dim and Kids In Glass Houses step up. While these Welshmen have garnered praise in the UK, I've found that their records have been utterly disappointing compared to when I first saw the band perform at Give It A Name 08 (covering Refused's "New Noise" tends to earn you credibility points). They do come on like seasoned pro's though, and as the sound quality increases dramatically, it only takes a song or two's worth of signalling from frontman Aled Phillips to get his vocal presence increased in the monitors, so his fine singing can rightfully start leading the show. This goes some way towards making this a by-the-book pop-rock set, as the band plays tightly while Phillips keeps the crowd engaged with between-song banter (/flattery) and in-song energetic movement. Only one thing draws my critical eye; Phillips is adding screams to the songs every chance he gets. It makes sense I guess, that old Refused-cover taken into consideration, if KIGH would really like to retain a little hardcore-edge to their otherwise glossy pop-rock. I wonder if it would have made the listening experience more interesting if this had also been apparent in their songwriting, because apart from the seasoned on-stage display and the added screams, KIGH's songs don't take on more of a life than they do on record. They're still 1-2-3-4, four-chords skeletons, with one-line choruses and no meat on the bones, good for a singalong and a quick wash down memory drain. No I'm not a fan, and this show, as it progresses, is not making me one. However, with Kings Of Leon-soundalike "Youngblood (Let It Out)" coupling with Phillips voice as the highlights, I must admit that while I can't call this great art or even great pop, performance-wise, KIGH make the most of what they got, as is apparent from a thouroughly engaged and excited crowd. The cranky old man doesn't think much of it, but the general audience participant should rightly consider this a:


You Me At Six

Okay, time for me to get excited now, afterall, I did consider YMAS' debút album "Take Off Your Colours" one of my favourite records of 2008, and after having seen them in both a festival and a support setting, I've been pining to see them play a show on their own terms. That wish is granted as Josh Fran-somethingsomething (_so_ sick of looking up how to spell his name) and friends come on stage and launch into "The Consequence". To my dissappointment, the sound quality doesn't take a further step up as expected, rather it stays at a similar level, posing a problem for Josh, whose pipes aren't quite up to par with KIGH's Phillips'. On the other hand though, I am delighted to hear the awesome ending part of the song (which was shamefully omitted during its performance in support of Paramore) and so is the crowd it seems. The band carries on with a few more singles from the sophomore album "Hold Me Down", and not only is there more to listen to compared to the prior set, visually YMAS also up the ante with simultaneous headbanging and a generally high level of energy.

"Stay With Me", "Liquid Confidence" and "Finders Keepers" make predictable appearances, with solid reception from the audience, and to my delight, the band finds time to air older material as well, with "The Truth Is A Terrible Thing", "If I Were In Your Shoes", "Save It For The Bedroom" and the title track "Take Off Your Colours" representing the debút album. Here's where I get a bit moody again though, because frankly, YMAS, those are the wrong songs to play! Yes, you guys do fine in the 'up-beat pop song' category, as so frequently showcased on your new album, but your best moments - the reasons I gave your album that high mark back in 2008 - those are in slower, more heartfelt tunes like "Tigers & Sharks", "Always Attract" and "The Rumour", and in all honest, the omission of these from a set that is by no means too long, speaks negative volumes of your confidence in the depth of your own material! Make note; top tier bands are as good live during slow songs as they are during fast ones.

Anyway, sorry about that rant. I guess I was about halfway through the show when that happened. At this point YMAS inform us that they're going to instigate something we've likely never seen before. When they then proceed to ask for a wall-of-death-ish division of the crowd down the middle, the elder audience members roll their eyes, at least until Josh Frablabla asks us all to face away from each other, explaining that upon the surge of the next song, we are to moonwalk-of-death into each other. Unfortunately, this entirely awesome idea fails completely, as the crowd's lacking familiarity with the song meant as a backdrop for the hilarity, means that the timing of the whole thing ends up out the window. Not long after that, we hear the classical "Copenhagen, this is going to be the last chance for you to party with us" speech, and the movement and singalongs intensifies as "Underdog" closes proceedings with no encore to boot.

Now, I know I've sounded like a right git for the large parts of this review, but the truth is that I found all the performances entirely respectable and enjoyable, it's just that me being a critic, the crucial qualities that lack here, stand out like sore thumbs and its hard for me to not focus upon, and make a bit of fun of them. I'll speak plainly though. I did think TSE looked like an excited and exciting warmup band. I did think KIGH put on an entirely good show, even if I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone likes their music. I don't mind young girls crowding rock shows, even if they do scream annoyingly much. In fact I find it encouraging that so many young people are not only interested in music, but also showing it by coming out to shows. Before the show I was thinking that it is a shame that older people grow 'too cool' to appreciate openly sentimental acts like YMAS, but then on the other hand, when the band itself serves only the quick pop-fixes from their repertoire, leaving their more dramatic parts off stage, maybe I can't really blame them? As long as YMAS does this, I think their hard-working and believable stage personality is likely only going to bring them as far as the doorstep of the big leagues.

More photos available @ Bright Side Of Murder Photography

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