YouMeAtSix have made quite a name for themselves over the last year, their recent support slot with The Audition receiving more of a reaction than the headliners. Tonight however the crowd seem a little less excited, maybe due to the fact that the Angels & Airwaves fans are not necessarily the same pop punk lovers that went to the Blink 182 gigs where the British boys would seem right at home. Still, their catchy, sing-along songs and enthusiastic performance make theirs an enjoyable set which will no doubt win them new fans wherever they go.
As soon as Angels & Airwaves’ set begins, Tom Delonge is clearly the focus, his reputation preceding him as the former Blink 182 singer. With previous members of The Offspring and Boxcar Racer also in the band, their joint experience is evident in the live show, as the music comes across precise and professional. However, the show doesn’t have a great deal of excitement or intensity until ‘Everything’s Magic’, the first single from 2007 album, ‘I-Empire’ which provides a chance for the crowd to get moving. The slower paced, ‘The Adventure’ follows, which is clearly well known by everyone present, although the new album takes up the majority of the set, giving fans the opportunity to experience songs they probably haven’t previously heard the band play live.
There is something not entirely convincing about Angels & Airwaves which creates a strange atmosphere, maybe it’s being so used to seeing members of the band as part of their previous projects, or possibly Tom Delonge’s claim that the reason some dislike their music is that it’s over their heads. Whatever it is, the band clearly believe in their music and are dedicated to the direction they have taken, yet Delonge still reminds the fans of his past giving them just a taste of Blink material with part of ‘Reckless Abandon’. The inclusion of the Boxcar Racer favourite ‘My First Punk Song’, provides a contrast to his current band’s mature sound, those who recognise it showing their appreciation.
They end with storming single, ‘The War’ which thunders through The Academy, the pounding guitars and blinding lights creating the illusion of a much bigger venue, before a sudden cut to darkness as the band disappear. For many, Angels & Airwaves will never live up to the success of Blink 182, however their dedication to the music they love and mature sound has won them a whole new army of fans along with those who have stuck by Delonge since the old days.
Review – Helen Catchpowle
Photos – Lucy Pryor