@ Newcastle O2 Academy, March 25 2012

You Me At Six arrived in Newcastle on the back of six live shows spanning Leicester to Nottingham and Cardiff to Liverpool.

The tour was in full-flow by the time it hit the North East and more than 100 hardcore pop-punk fans had been queuing since late afternoon to catch the best view of Josh Franceschi and company.

Mayday Parade opened the show with a fast-paced but short-lived rundown of some of their more familiar tracks, while fellow pop-punkers Kids in Glass Houses delivered an assured, yet occasionally tedious set. 

Despite both bands being well-respected in their own right, it was obvious the majority of the audience’s minds were already contemplating the eagerly anticipated entrance of YM@6.

The onstage arrival of the headline act prompted a volley of screams from a predominantly teen audience. After opening salvos Friends with Benefits and Saver to Hater it was immediately clear that for a band with a name much more pop than punk, YM@6 were, surprisingly, heavier than their studio albums suggest.

Favourites Trophy Eyes and The Consequence followed after Franceschi introduced the rest of the Surrey-born band before an electrifying version of the new single The Swarm reverberated through the o2.

On a non-musical note Franceschi appeared to wear a body warmer for the duration of the evening – the North East’s whether is different to that of Surrey but ultimately this was still a rock show. C’mon guys!

Franceschi can be forgiven though. Despite having to postpone shows in Dublin & Belfast (not so lucky for the Irish) only 10 days earlier after suffering a bout of tonsillitis, his vocals were nothing short of punk excellence and engaging the crowd seemed like child’s play. But that was easy enough – only a handful of the audience were over 18.

A slow but emphatic performance of Crash provided the opportunity for YM@6, and older members of the audience, to catch their breath, before another stunning vocal effort in the shape of Underdog.

The formalities of the encore then took place but Franceschi may need to consider explaining this concept to his audiences in future. A significant number of apparent first-time gig-goers had already made their way to the exit before sprinting back through the wall-to-wall crowd for the opening of Stay With Me.  Bite My Tongue provided a thrilling end to what was a fast-paced evening.

You Me At Six’s performance exceeded expectations on every level. The strong vocals of Franceschi were more than complemented by instrumentals from Chris Miller on lead guitar, Max Heyler and Matt Barnes on rhythm guitar and bass and Dan Flint – who dictated the high tempo on drums. This was a surprisingly assured set – whether the Surrey lads will impress the hard-core festival goers of Download and Soundwave this summer remains to be seen.

Mark Burden