Paying tribute to 'Sinners Never Sleep' ten years on from its release, You Me At Six took over Hatfield Park and delivered a set brimming with as much beautiful nostalgia as forward-looking joy.
Photos: Thomas Lisle Coe-Brooker
Slam Dunk and You Me At Six have always had a special relationship, the sort that very few other bands will ever have. From the humble beginnings of a club night in Leeds to the annual alternative juggernaut that it is now, and from vibrant pop-punk upstarts to genuine chart-topping superstars, both have grown up together and become what they are today side by side. Oh, and don't forget that You Me's debut album 'Take Off Your Colours' was the first-ever release on Slam Dunk Records as well.
So it only seems fitting that as a warm-up to the main event this weekend, and as a means to celebrate a decade of a life-changing album in 'Sinners Never Sleep', the two join forces once again for a special show of highly emotional proportions.
But tonight is as much about celebrating British talent in all of its forms as much as it is celebrating YMAS. From the ethereally punishing sound of Holding Absence to the satirically sharp offerings of Kid Kapichi, and not forgetting the riot-inducing force of The Hunna, this is a line-up demonstrating the strength and diversity of a scene that continues to surprise and delight with every passing year. And a special mention, of course, to Yours Truly for stepping in for YONAKA last minute and continuing to get from strength to strength right before our eyes.
Yet when You Me At Six takes to the stage with a message reminding everybody to look out for each other and reject intolerance, and the crowd start singing the infectious refrain of 'Loverboy' before a single note is even played, you know you're in for a big one. And the band step up to the occasion in serious style. 'Sinners' was a record that gave them a lot of monumental firsts, but tonight you can see how second nature it is now to deliver performances of the highest quality. Slick, savage and insatiable in every way, they have the gathered masses eating out the palm of their hands. From the intricacies of 'Jaws On The Floor' to the brilliantly bludgeoning 'Time Is Money', with Winston McCall on backing track, it's a professional and passionate showing through and through.
And it's in the aforementioned gathered masses where what tonight represents comes to life. Friends are grabbing each other's shoulders and screaming in each other's faces during a belting 'Bite My Tongue' and couples staring into each other's eyes during a lovely 'No One Does It Better'. It's apparent how much these songs have imprinted on the lives of all of these people in their own little ways. There's even a beautiful surprise proposal at the back of the field at the beginning of 'Crash, which sends all around them into tear-stained raptures. Everybody here has a memory connected to each of these songs, both good and bad, and it's important not to understate how powerful that is. And with every singalong, from the defiant 'Little Death' to the incomparable 'Reckless', the band make sure everybody knows that they feel it too.
There's even time during the encore for some extra treats, both new and old. There's a thrilling showing of 'The Swarm', which still gets played at the rollercoaster that inspired it at Thorpe Park to this day, and a pulsating 'SUCKAPUNCH', reminding everybody that the band are still dealing out the bangers today. And as 'Underdog' sees proceedings out in fittingly lively style, there is a lot to be excited about based off tonight.
To see how far You Me At Six have come over the years is a joy to behold, and to see them so happy to be able to celebrate such milestones in this way is even more joyous than that. And with a new album in the works, you better believe that they aren't slowing down their march forwards any time soon. But to be able to have nights like these, where everything else in the world just stops and things feel absolutely perfect for even a split second, is something that should never be taken for granted.
Here's to another ten years!