Live: You Me At Six / Deaf Havana

UEA, Norwich February 10, 2024

by Olivia Keer

Packed to the rafters, the place rumbles with anticipation as the lights dim.

For some, Norwich may be just another stop on tour. For Deaf Havana, this is almost a hometown show.

On familiar territory:  James Veck-Gilodi (Picture: Olivia Keer)
On familiar territory: James Veck-Gilodi (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Hailing from west Norfolk, they’ll be nothing if not familiar with tonight’s venue, and nothing if not familiar with the crowd they’re performing to.

Ashes, Ashes – with its upbeat melody and exhilarating chorus – gets things going with a burst of energy, setting the tone for the rest of the set.

Deaf Havana's Matty Veck-Gilodi (Picture: Olivia Keer)
Deaf Havana’s Matty Veck-Gilodi (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Sinner sees the band take command of the venue, and it’s clear that Sing is a fan-favourite. The infectious tune is almost drowned out by the crowd.

Frontman James Veck-Gilodi declares his love for Norfolk with Kids – a track that feels like it comes from their hearts with its lyrics leaning towards nostalgia.

It's almost a hometown show for Deaf Havana (Picture: Olivia Keer)
It’s almost a hometown show for Deaf Havana (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The addictive Fever rounds off Deaf Havana’s show, and although there’s huge anticipation for headliners, it’s a shame to see the Norfolk boys leave the stage after a set full of soaring rock anthems.

The intro to Room To Breathe simmers as dimmed blue lights cast silhouettes across the stage. This was the first show on the tour to sell out, and the intensity builds as You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi joins his bandmates.

It’s just days since they announced they’ll be breaking up next year after two decades together, and now this tour – originally focusing on celebrating 10 years of Cavalier Youth – feels even more of a celebration.

It's an emotional night for Josh Franceschi and friends (Picture: Olivia Keer)
It’s an emotional night for Josh Franceschi and friends (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The set calms as they give a touching performance of Be Who You Are under the spotlights illuminating the centre of the stage.

An emotional acoustic rendition of Stay With Me follows, and the sombre reworking of the song seems particularly fitting following the announcement of the imminent break-up.

YMAS are coming towards the end of their 20 years together (Picture: Olivia Keer)
YMAS are coming towards the end of their 20 years together (Picture: Olivia Keer)

Killing the lights, the venue is lit up with phone torches for the heart-warming Take On The World.

Franceschi asks who is seeing You Me At Six for the first time tonight. As the odd few hands go up, he jests that they’ve arrived a little too late, but what a time for them to do so…

It could be their final visit to Norfolk (Picture: Olivia Keer)
It could be their final visit to Norfolk (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The singer seems to think we’ve had a long enough break from being boisterous as he announces the start of the mosh pit section. Launching into Bite My Tongue, this heavier song raises the energy around the place, with the crowd roaring the Oli Sykes verse, before Save It For The Bedroom gives the main chunk of the set the ultimate pop-punk finish.

The encore opens with the dynamic Deep Cuts, followed by energetic rock anthem Underdog before Beautiful Way marks the end of the night.

A final farewell? (Picture: Olivia Keer)
A final farewell? (Picture: Olivia Keer)

The energy from You Me At Six has never faltered throughout their time together, and they’ll be greatly missed when they finally leave the scene that they’ve become such a huge part of.

Whether they’ll venture this way again is unclear. Here’s hoping they do make their way back to East Anglia on more time – but if they don’t, at least tonight Norwich has given them the send-off they deserve.

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