You Me At Six

Syracuse Shows Presents

You Me At Six

Young Guns, Stars In Stereo

Thursday, October 23, 2014

6:00 pm

The Lost Horizon


Off Sale

This event is all ages

You Me At Six
You Me At Six
This year, Josh Franceschi spent his birthday in Los Angeles. His girlfriend, his best friend and his sister had all flown out to help him celebrate and they had a big day out planned. First, though, Josh had to stop by the studio for what he thought would be a quick meeting. He and his band mates in You Me At Six had been holed up in producer Neal Avron's home studio near Sunset Strip, making 'Cavalier Youth': their fourth album, soon-to-be defining statement and follow-up to 2011's gold-selling 'Sinners Never Sleep'.

Things had been going well, so Josh was a little surprised to find Neal, guitarists Max Helyer and Chris Miller, bassist Matt Barnes and drummer Dan Flint's birthday surprise for him was to suggest that his contribution to 'Wild Ones' – the epic closing song on one of the most anticipated rock records of 2014 – wasn't quite up to scratch.

"If on 'Sinners Never Sleep', they'd have said, 'Josh, why don't you rewrite this?', I'd have been like, 'Why don't you go fuck yourself?'" laughs Josh. "But when they said, 'Musically, this is such a massive song, do you really want to be the one that lets it down?', I was like, 'I really don't'."
So Josh spent his birthday holed up in Neal's garden with his laptop, rewriting the lyrics and vocal melody until they matched the scale and scope of the music. When he emerged triumphant – "like a kid at Christmas", according to Max – with the revamped song, Josh knew it was a "defining moment" for the band.

Such incidents show the ambition and renewed appetite at large in the You Me At Six camp. The band has been a model of musical development from 2008 debut 'Take Off Your Colours' through 2010's 'Hold Me Down' and on to 'Sinners Never Sleep', but now nothing less than brilliant will do.
This is an all the more remarkable state of affairs considering the staggering achievements around that last album. 'Sinners Never Sleep' debuted at No. 3 in the UK album chart. The band were hailed as leaders of Britain's new rock scene by everyone from Radio 1 to Q magazine and The Times. Their song The Swarm became the theme tune for Thorpe Park's blockbuster rollercoaster of the same name. And – having stormed stages at Download, Reading & Leeds and all over the world – the campaign finished with a sold-out show at London's 12,500-capacity Wembley Arena in December 2012.

That show – documented on 2013's 'The Final Night Of Sin' DVD – was the culmination of eight years hard work, since the band formed as teenage pop-punks in Weybridge, Surrey, in 2004. It also – in Josh's words – established them alongside "the big boys" of British rock. But while many bands would view such an occasion as the peak of their career, You Me At Six see it as base camp. After Wembley, change was inevitable: the band had switched management company and split with their old label, eventually finding a happy home with BMG's new recorded music arm.

But things had changed within the band as well. 'Sinners Never Sleep', for all its triumphs, had not been the smoothest recording process while the squabbles with their old label – which Josh had to battle to get to release 'Reckless' as a single, only for it to become their most played radio song ever – had taken its toll. "If somebody had asked us 'What's next?' after Wembley, the answer would've been, 'We really don't know'," says Josh. "We had no label, no management, no idea really."

That they rediscovered their verve in such spectacular fashion on Cavalier Youth is testament to the studio environment created by Neal Avron (Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, Weezer), who worked them harder than they'd ever worked before, but also encouraged them to broaden and stretch their musical horizons. But it's also due to the giant strides made by the band itself. Hence the next-level musicianship displayed on the album. Max Helyer's riffs are catchier than most people's choruses. Dan Flint's drums are more colossal than Godzilla's big brother. And, where 'Sinners Never Sleep' successfully tried its hand at a pick'n'mix selection of different genres, 'Cavalier Youth' displays a consistency born of confidence.

There's still plenty of variety of course, with songs ranging from the all-out rock attack of 'Room To Breathe' and 'Win Some, Lose Some' to the acoustic, Best-Coast-and-Joy-Division-namechecking 'Be Who You Are'. 'Lived A Lie' has already become the band's (and BMG's) biggest-ever hit single, charting at No. 11, its inspired marching band-style middle eight showing off their current willingness to push their musical boundaries. Meanwhile, the crossover alt-rock anthem 'Forgive And Forget' boasts a chant so infectious, 2014's festival crowds are probably singing it already.

Lyrically, too, Josh is fizzing with fresh optimism, exemplified by the pulsating positivity of 'Fresh Start Fever', its "Dream a little bigger!" chorus surely destined to soundtrack a million New Year's resolutions as well as spur the band on to new heights. Because, more than anything, this is the first You Me At Six album to establish a big, beefy rock sound that belongs entirely to, well, You Me At Six. "For the first time, there's a real cohesiveness in our sound," says Josh. "We wanted to write a record that in five or ten years time would still be relevant and make sense." "We've got bigger ambitions than just staying in our world and scene," states Max. "We want to be a band that's listened to by everybody."

So they enthuse not just about their dreams of appearing high up the bill at Reading & Leeds, but also to play Glastonbury for the first time. They enthuse over the strength-in-depth of 'Cavalier Youth', an album they hope will spin off "at least six" singles. And they make no bones about their desire to graduate to arenas, not just as a London one-off, but as a regular occurrence all over the world. They're already making headway in Australia and America – where YMAS recently completed their first headlining tour after years of groundwork on package tours and in support slots – and are primed to become the UK's next enduring international rock success story.
"That's the ambition for this album," says Josh. "We'd be lying if we said breaking America isn't something we want to achieve." And they certainly have the ambition, the ability and, in Cavalier Youth, the album to accomplish such aims. "I don't think our band's ever sounded this good," says Max proudly. "If there's ever a time for You Me At Six, it's right now."

He's right too. That's why 'Wild Ones', the song Josh so successfully tweaked back in that LA garden on his birthday, finds the frontman posing the question, "Are we going to live forever?" with the confidence of a man who already knows the answer. Josh might not have had much of a birthday bash this year. But 'Cavalier Youth' marks the happiest of returns for You Me At Six -- and now the whole world gets to celebrate.
Young Guns
Young Guns
Over the course of the past few years, the London-based YOUNG GUNS have emerged as one of the UK's most electrifying new bands, garnering heavy radio play and UK chart success, while playing to packed-house crowds all across Europe, including a main stage performance at the Reading Festival, where they tore up the stage as part of a lineup that included Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, Guns N' Roses and Modest Mouse.

New album BONES has already achieved critical acclaim overseas, with Q Magazine and Kerrang! each giving it four stars and the latter writing that the album sees the band "giving themselves the best shot possible of taking on all comers and winning." BONES and its title track were also nominated for "Best Album" and "Best Single" as part of this year's 2012 Kerrang! Awards.

“We've written something that I feel happy describing as 'brave,'” says Young Guns frontman Gustav Wood, “and it will challenge a lot of people's preconceptions about what sort of band we are. It's an ambitious record, and we have the ambition to match the sound.”

Written over a number of months in places ranging from Thailand to Spain to a shed in the band's hometown of High Wycombe, UK, BONES marks Young Guns' transition from a band packed with potential to bonafide contenders for the title of Britain's best. It's a stirring album full of contradictions – it speaks of strength and vulnerability, friendship and loss, energetic youth and heavy-hearted experience – that proudly displays Wood, John Taylor (guitar), Fraser Taylor (guitar), Simon Mitchell (bass) and Ben Jolliffe (drums)'s skyscraping vision and style.

“When you're writing an album you need to believe that what you're doing is the most important thing in the world,” continues Gustav.

Having formed from the ashes of a variety of local bands, Young Guns' first release was the striking Mirrors EP in June 2009. But it wasn't until debut album All Our Kings Are Dead, unveiled in July 2010, that they began to really show what they were capable of. Backed by a groundswell of popular support, the band hit magazine covers, headlined the HMV Forum in London, toured Australia and played the Main Stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals; in the backs of their minds, though, they knew they could do better. And they were right.

Taken at face value, BONES feels effortless, but the work that went into it – the long hours, the nudging back of immutable deadlines, the worry, the sheer grind that comes with a genuinely democratic writing process – mirrors the band's career to date. This is a story of victory by inches, not of instant boom (and inevitable, sad bust).

Young Guns backed themselves into a corner with their drive to comprehensively outdo All Our Kings Are Dead. After a handful of fruitless writing sessions, Gustav, Fraser and John spent a night in the studio with a couple of bottles of vodka and the desire to write a song their heroes would be proud of; when morning eventually came, they had the skeleton of “Dearly Departed,” a song that, once they'd taken it to the rest of the band and let them work their magic, would sit as one of the keystones of BONES. “Once we wrote that song, we knew we could really make a mark with this album,” says Wood. The title track itself is another standout moment, a pure rock anthem in the most heroic sense.

“When you do something you know is good, that you know stands up... it's bliss. Elation. We worked so hard on this album, and there were times when the stress was horrendous. When I finished tracking the vocals for 'Bones’ and we stood back and cranked it on the stereo at 4am, listening to what I knew would be a single that would do big things for us, that was overwhelming.”

From then on, the songs flowed: the title track, a howl of defiance; stunning opener “I Was Born, I Have Lived, I Will Surely Die,” a fearless statement of intent; lead single “Learn My Lesson,” a calling-card that's as dynamic as it is catchy.

“It feels like I want to just kick people's heads off,” smiles Gustav. “It sounds stupid but I just want to get out there and make a mark – it keeps me up at night, thinking about how much I want to do.”
Stars In Stereo
Stars In Stereo
They'll try to tell you Rock music is dead. They'll point to ever-changing trends – the rise of different genres, the apathetic culture, the cynicism of today's music fan. They'll show you MTV; scroll the radio dial for a glimpse of the moment. They'll say it's a lost art, no longer at the center of the cultural lexicon, no longer the heartbeat of a movement.

They haven't seen Stars in Stereo.

The truth comes out when the lights go down. When hundreds of people pack shoulder to shoulder, pressing to get closer. The truth comes out when Drew's drums explode into the opening song. The truth comes out when you hear Bec's voice. This isn't a song – it's an anthem. This isn't a chorus – it's a battle cry.

Rock is dead?

Tell it to the crowd packed toward the front, catching Jordan on their outstretched hands when he drops his guitar and leaps with reckless abandon from the stage.

Tell it to the kid getting crushed by life, by stress, by his struggle to get through the day, who jumps and sways feeling Frogs' bass, who sings along to every lyric and feels good for the first time in ages.

Tell it to the girl who comes home from the show and lies in bed with her head spinning, a thousand hopes and dreams launched into flight, who puts up flyers the next day because she wants to start her own band.

This is the power of Stars in Stereo, of their electrifying live show, and of their self-titled debut album.

This is four friends on a journey together, crisscrossing the country again and again, winning over new fans in new cities every time the lights go down and their first song bursts through the speakers.

This is lightning in a bottle, in ten tracks. This is a roadmap of pain, and loss, and the dark underbelly of love, but also redemption, change, and hope. There is violence. There is joy. There is life.

This isn't a trend, or a scene, or another flash in the pan.

This is Rock. Alive and well. Kicking and screaming. Meeting the moment.

This is Stars in Stereo.

Stars in Stereo are: Bec Hollcraft: Lead vocals, Jordan McGraw: Guitar, Ryan "Frogs" McCormack: Bass, Drew Langan: Drums.
Venue Information:
The Lost Horizon
5863 Thompson Rd.
Syracuse, NY, 13214