As the rumbles of ‘Ni**as In Paris’ roll out, All Time Low scuttle playfully onto stage at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena to an ear-piercing reception which, alongside a fun-fuelled rendition of ‘A Love Like War’, sets the benchmark for the night’s proceedings. What follows is by no means revolutionary; All Time Low are a band that wear their influences proudly on their sleeve. The onstage banter is reminiscent of Blink-182 – back when they liked each other – and Alex Gaskarth’s crowd interaction makes it clear that he’s been making notes at Green Day shows in recent years, but that doesn’t detract from their professionalism and understated, yet irresistible charm.
Their set is slick and reaches fever pitch during a tear duct busting, solo rendition of ‘Therapy’ and culminates in the nostalgic noughties pop-punk classic, ‘Dear Maria, Count Me In’. However, even as All Time Low scamper off stage partially clothed after a remarkable performance, whether or not the co-headline status of this tour will come into fruition remains to be seen.
As the first guitar notes strike, consuming the room with a sinister twang, it is clear You Me At Six raise the bar entirely. Perhaps as a result of huge slots on festival main stages, or just a meticulous ethic in the practice room, they are sounding bigger and tighter than ever before. As a looming introduction flows effortlessly in to ‘Room To Breathe’, Josh Franceschi and co. prove why they are now among the UK’s rock elite; regardless of their poster-boy aesthetic or radio-friendly singles, tonight the Surrey quintet have the attention of the sold-out audience because of their performance ability alone.
The whole experience makes it feel like a headline show for You Me At Six, with a stage-spanning screen throwing the band into a state of silhouette, framing them like a high production value music video. It is all a spectacle; from the length of guitarist Max Helyer’s hair to the pyrotechnics and silicone balls bobbing around the audience, it’s clear where the budget has been spent. Despite a broken ankle, front man Franceschi commands the audience and impresses with a rousing and evocative vocal on ‘Fireworks.’
With a three-song encore finishing on ‘Lived A Lie’, the night ends with confetti cannons and a very grateful Franceschi, who seems genuinely humbled at the grandeur of it all. As the true headliners of tonight, the only thing missing are the smiles present on the faces of All Time Low just an hour before. The boys that wrote ‘Save It For The Bedroom’ are becoming victims of their own success; a band that grew up with their fans and were once so accessible are now in danger of taking it all too seriously. Perhaps taking a leaf out of All Time Low’s book and enjoying their time on stage is key, otherwise the well-oiled live machine that is You Me At Six could try too hard and soon crash off the rails.