Raving, Rapping and Rocking are the only three Rs you need
Since appearing at the major British summer festivals, rave-rockers You and What Army were crowned 2010 Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition winners and granted the opportunity to support Kids In Glass Houses and Boys Like Girls as they toured the United Kingdom. Having caught the band's impressive set at Download Festival, the opportunity to see the four-piece perform at an indoor venue was an exciting prospect.
As the lights drop, the introductory bass drones commence, meaning that those in attendance not only hear and see that You and What Army are about to take to the stage, but they can feel their imminent presence. Perceivably excited to be performing at what was the closest-to-home show of the tour for them, the four musicians assume their positions as the introduction segues into the climactic opening of 'Epidemic'. Perfectly coupled with frantic strobe lighting, the quartet's brand of rave/rap/rock strikes with tremendous impact and generates a truly exhilarating atmosphere.
The relentless raving ambience continues as the young ensemble launches into 'Ascension'. You and What Army wisely hit Birmingham with two of their strongest songs from their arsenal first, ensuring that the initial impressions given would have lasting effect. Although the English foursome's music is somewhat different to the pop-punk styling of both Boys Like Girls and Kids In Glass Houses, the band are certainly aware of the audience with whom they are sharing this experience. Guitarist Kieran Smith's Fender displays the words "Teen Birmingham" chalked on to it, which is sure to have earned his band extra brownie points.
The excitement of the set drops slightly as the group embark upon 'Hypervelocity' and 'Skyline', but the adrenaline-fuelled four-piece steer onwards, powered by six-string bassist Jamie Hancox and drummer Zak Hammond. Drawing their performance to a close with favourites 'Watch Me Fly' and 'Nebula', You and What Army end their promising set with the same infectious spirit that they began with and, clearly enjoying the rockstar lifestyle, the band members leap from the stage to embrace the love of their newly converted fans.
Part of the joy of any live rock show is the physical effect that you experience as the bass pounds deep within your heart. However, during You and What Army's set you are not so much subject to a thumping heart as you are the feeling that your body could be liquidized by outrageous bass frequencies at any given moment. Maybe vocalist and synth player David Brown is actually a mad scientist of rock. He must be wearing that lab coat for a reason...
You and What Army have such a refreshing aural identity that it makes them difficult to categorise. Artistically this is a blessing, but could be problematic during support slots when performing to unresponsive audiences. If they are able to follow on from the likes of Pendulum and deliver their electronic rock music to receptive mainstream masses, then there will be no stopping the ascension of You and What Army; just watch them fly.