@ Newcastle o2 Academy, March 13 2010

In the late 1990s pop punk was all the rage.  Bands like Blink 182, New Found Glory and, hell, even Green Day were setting an example to bands all around the world that punk could be accessible for the mainstream as well as the underground.

Fast forward to 2010 and we’re still left with their legacy – albeit the watered down version.  You Me At Six are prime examples of a genre hitting saturation at lightning pace.  The Surrey five-piece entered the O2 Academy in the midst of a sold-out UK tour. Fans had even camped out in anticipation of catching a glimpse of the class of 2010 pop punk darlings. So was their wait worthwhile?

You Me At Six were joined by US support acts We The Kings and Forever The Sickest Kids.  The less said about the latter the better as FTSK demonstrated the very worst of pop punk saturation – devoid of any lyrical prominence they seem to care more about the way their hair looks than what music they play.

Florida’s We The Kings did, however, prove to be a step-up from FTSK.  Albeit a bit samey, a fate that plagues all pop punk bands, the enthusiasm was there for all to see.  All members were sporting Newcastle United shirts and they clearly endeared themselves to the audience and even treated them to a commendable cover of Jimmy Eat World’s The Middle – even though it was sadly lost on the adolescent audience.

So on to You Me At Six.  You’d think with a sell-out tour in front of them they’d be pulling out all the stops and for about 20 minutes of their Newcastle set they did.  Opening with Safer To Hate Her their very enthusiastic, albeit pre-pubescent, audience got really into the feel of the band.

After playing Kiss And Tell the entire venue went red as the band disappeared off stage only to remerge as the curtain fell and they broke into The Consequence.  A somewhat energetic start was then hampered with a terribly lethargic middle section and Stay With Me felt far too weak for a live track.

The problem with You Me At Six is that you could close your eyes and be at any pop punk show and not tell the difference.  Especially when lead singer Josh Franceschi insisted on replacing his broad London accent with an American twang, a really annoying trait by any English band.  Franceschi urged the crowd to ‘lose yourself’ during Finders Keepers as there was ‘no school tomorrow’ – pretty apt considering the average age of those in attendance.

You Me At Six picked the pace up for hits such as Save It For the Bedroom and Underdog but overall this was a disappointing performance.  Pop punk has managed to become a genre that seems to be more at home in a Disney film and the glory days of Blink and New Found Glory are sadly a distant memory.

Tom Walsh