You Me At Six @ O2 Victoria Warehouse, Manchester 6.2.23
with Bears in Trees, The Maine and Waterparks

2023 may be the year of the rabbit, but it is also undoubtedly the year of the emo. Everywhere you look, emo’s finest are primed and ready to pounce – from Paramore, to Fall Out Boy, to Pierce the Veil, it seems like every alt icon is set to reignite their eyeliner-smeared past this year. You Me At Six are no different; with upcoming album Truth Decay dead-set on delivering emo-tinged nostalgia, YMAS are thoroughly indulging in the joys of the teenage throwback.

Tonight’s line-up is a a top drawer pickings of the past and the future of the genre. Emo pop’s favourite well-mannered ‘dirtbags’ Bears in Trees open up the evening, the fresh-faced quartet serving up buckets of charm. The group deliver a healthy slew of soft, jangly tracks, enchanting the crowd. Following on, old-time favourites The Maine delight the masses with throwback anthems and fresh cuts aplenty.

The quirky, bubblegum-pop-punk of Waterparks is next up – and, in some ways, the energy in the room is almost that of a headline spot. From the 20+ bodies that hop onto shoulders for the love-drunk swooner Lucky People to the feral pit in response to Turbulent, it’s clear that Waterparks are absolutely magnetic. Awsten Knight is a charismatic force to be reckoned with – even if he was on the swim team in high school.

By the time You Me At Six are set to take to the stage, everyone is entirely prepped for a night to remember. Deep Cuts kicks the set off on a high, the crowds eagerly bouncing along to the tracks’ razor-sharp pop-punk energy, every word howled with glee, before cruising into the equally as beloved Fresh Start Fever.

The crowd is noticeably tame, however; in comparison to Waterparks’ lovable-rascal approach, teasing the crowds into movement, fans are definitely less eager to bound into the pit for the headliners. This mindset is somewhat highlighted by “the moshpit” section of the set, as Josh Franceschi lovingly calls it, a section that notably doesn’t really generate any. Even the ferality of the bile-fueled Bite My Tongue doesn’t rouse much more than eager bouncing and howling in the Victoria Warehouse, following track What’s It Like an even further cry from what one might expect a full-blown mosh to be. Yes, the triumphant crowd response is deafening – but it seems fans aren’t as buzzed at the prospect of pitting than they maybe once were.

And, in a way, perhaps the band are aware of this. Fresh track God Bless The 90s Kids has the “21st Century Misfits” of the crowd crooning, everyone happily singing along to the lighthearted anthem of the millennial emo, bouncing around in favour of whirling round a circle pit. While YMAS don’t have many pits opening up, the love for the alt-rock staples is crystal clear.

In honour of those beloved 90s kids, a true treat comes in the form of some Hold Me Down stand-outs. Liquid Confidence and the revival of ‘an old friend’ is glorious, Franceschi standing in awe as the masses to chime back the chorus of Stay With Me. It’s a moment that warms the heart, fans atop shoulders, singing along to a track that they hold so incredibly near and dear.

As the night draws to an end, one thing is clear. While the 21st Century Misfits may nowadays opt out of a feral moshpit, there’s nothing that can get in the way of us dancing along to a glorious bit of pop punk, eh?

Tickets for remaining dates are available here.