Review by Peter Keevil, photos by Rob Stanley
Y&T are back in Blighty and where better place to start the UK tour than the Black Country, The Robin in Bilston to be precise. Having flirted with a couple of dates at The Slade Rooms on recent tours, The Robin appears much better suited to the band and to the 350 strong audience, the vast majority of whom were over 40.
Y&T have been around a long time, since 1973/74, fore-runners of the US hard rock scene. Guitarist/Vocalist/Mr Y&T – Dave Meniketti is one of the most underrated, at least in terms of mass popularity, rock guitarist of his generation. He is a guitarist’s guitarist with many of his peers citing him as a major influence.
One of the advantages of being a ‘heritage act’ is that your back catalogue regularly achieves anniversary milestones and gives the band a very valid reason to tour without a new album but with a celebratory set list that nods towards a party.
This year it’s the turn of Mean Streak, technically their 5th album but also one smack in the middle of their ‘popular period’ in the eighties and first released in 1983 – yep 30 frigging years ago!
It’s the title track that Y&T opened their tour with, but not before Dave M had forgotten his wireless set, so wasn’t even plugged in – a charming school boy error from a man hitting 60 this year.
What followed was to be expected really; a 19-song master class in melodic song writing topped with exceptional guitar playing. Dave is normally an equally exceptional vocalist but early in the set he apologised for his ‘annual UK cold’. It was barely noticeable as he is a seasoned pro and even when he held back on some of the highs he still delivered with passion and heart-felt emotion.
As good as a nostalgic look back is, it does sometimes offer a slight dip as some of those rare ‘gems’ get a dust down. You know, that song you sort of recognise but are not sure of the lyrics so you ‘mouth’ the words in case anyone spots you ‘not knowing the song’, when really ithe only one in the room that knows it is that over-zealous drunk guy in the middle who’s bolshie enough to correctly shout every frigging word. Git.
For me, it was ‘Dont stop running’ and perhaps ‘Lonely side of town’. But hey, only 2 out of 19 is not bad for a band that goes back 40 years.
However, it’s not those gems the audience are really there to see, it’s those standout, killer tracks that are associated with key moments in your life, invariably in your youth – those halcyon days, out on the pull with a full head of hair. And not only those killer tracks but the ones where Meniketti lets rip on his fret board, fingers dancing at the top end where he appears to be able to go ‘one note higher’ than any other guitarist.
The technique was stunning. The sweat real, flying off as his head that was frenetically whipped side-to-side. The emotion burned into his straining, blood-filled face. Let’s just say he was giving it some!
It was during ‘Dirty girl’ that Dave first opened up his soul and welcomed us in. It’s a moment that you wish your cameraman was on stage taking a shot of 350 mouths agape in awe. He was then magnanimous enough to allow us mere mortals to recover by playing some ‘normal’ songs before ratcheting it up again with the instrumental ‘I’ll cry for you’. There were no lyrics, it was the guitar doing all the singing and if ever there was evidence of a man striking a deal at the crossroads, this song was it.
As a respite there was a fantastic rendition of the hell-raising ‘Squeeze’ in honour of sadly departed bassist, big Phil Kennemore (has it really been 2 years since his passing?)
But Meniketti was not done with us yet, there was still time to sap every ounce of emotion and channel it through those blurring fingers with ‘I believe in you’ and set closer ‘Forever’.
If this was Y&T with a cold, how good will it be when the night nurse kicks in?
Straight thru the heart
Don’t stop running
Lonely side of town
Midnight in Tokyo
Lipstick and leather
Don’t be afraid of the dark
Winds of change
I’ll cry for you
I believe in you
I’m coming home
See more of Rob’s photos here;
Actually I am in agreement. Although I have not been from here in this country for longer than 8 years, I have found that the people from the midlands are such excellent people. It is therefore a shame that again the bands on first were not to be written from. I have followed Shyyne from a tigertailz gig at Wolverhampton in November of last year and although they are consistently of brilliance on the stage and there songs are excellent and memorable and sing along and quite quirkie and although they are from the midlands they will not be written about as of other bands. nite by nite were also of very good standard although they were shaded by shyyne ,and were not writed about.
For to have a Midlands Fanzine and to not write about Midlands bands, especially when one of the Midlands finest exponenets of 80’s rock are playing, seems to me to be not representing your own music. It is of therefore much regret to your fanzine to not be representing bands of like Shyyne, I am biased a little as I think they are most excellent mand easily one of midlands finest rock bands. So much infact that they must be coming to Poland to be playing as they have now a following in my Poland. I have followed this band to there last gigs and must insist you are reviewing Shyyne. By not doing this you are dening many people from knowing what you have here on doorstep. I have take Brad to gig, he is my husband and he too likes Shyyne. I am therefor angry too like person that you have not written about Shyyne. You are to be doing better no?
I totally understand what you are saying – but the site as a whole does support Midlands bands.
In fact PK insists we review all bands playing a gig not just the headliners and actively encourages us to support Midlands acts. In fact a review without the support acts covered is very rare on this site.
I can understand the band and it’s fan’s frustration’s with us as the past two Shyne gigs that have been covered by us (both Peter Keevil) have seen only the headline act covered. But it’s just one of those things nothing against midlands bands or indeed Shyne.
Obviously it’s good for the band to get mentioned albeit briefly as it brings the band’s name to people’s attention and boosts their reputation if it’s known they have supported a band like Y&T or played a big venue like the O2 Academy in Birmingham. So I understand the disappointment, cause it’s as if Shyne never supported Y&T or played the O2 Academy according to our site.
BUT your point is very generalised about the site as a whole and to be honest we are very supportive of midlands acts and venue’s.
Also we are not ignoring Shyne, we have no reason to. If you search the site you will see the band have been Interviewed and had three live reviews, including the Tigertailz show you were at as well as supporting Lee Small and Daylight Robbery.
Hopefully for the next show we cover that Shyne are playing whoever is reviewing will be there in plenty of time to see them!
Great review, great band.
Y&T were awesome as usual, shame midlands rocks couldn,t be bothered to be there to review the MIDLANDS band that were playing with them !!!!
Thanks for your comment.
Unfortunately my mother took a turn for the worse and I was unable to get to the gig until I was sure that she was settled.
[…] HERE you can read a review from the first UK date in Bilston , some nice pics to accompany it too! […]
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