Y&T band photo 2013

Y&T – Debaser Medis, Stockholm, 2013-10-24

Dave Meniketti - Y&TSince the dawn of man, I have been a huge Y&T fan. Yes, well, since 1983 anyway, when a young me sat down in front of the telly to watch another episode of the 30 minute hard rock show that was telecasting at the time. And mind you, back in 1983, that was a big thing for a hardrocker in Sweden as Swedish television wasn’t that big on telecasting anything that wasn’t artsy fartsy. So there I sat, all fired up to see some new cool music videos from my favourite bands when all of a sudden “Mean Streak” with this bunch called Y&T showed up. Yes, I had heard the name before, but I thought it was too corny – I mean, who in their right mind would call their band Y&T? Talk about an eye opener. After that tune, my jaw was on the floor and I really didn’t know what the hell had hit me. The next day Mean Streak the album was mine and the week after I had purchased its predecessors, Black Tiger and Earthshaker and this boy was a major fan. So, Y&T kept on releasing awesome records that I bought and digested, but as a live act, the were a no-show on Swedish soil. Y&T never made it big and they never came over to play, but to me and my friends, Y&T were always relevant and there wasn’t one party where a Y&T record didn’t appear. Then, in 1991 they split up. Then they reunited. Then they split up again. Dave Meniketti released a couple of solo albums and drummer Leonard Haze played with Ian Gillan. Then all of a sudden, back in 2003, Sweden Rock Festival announced that they had booked a reunited Y&T. That settled it for me. I had always thought about going to Sweden Rock prior to that, but I never got my thumb out of my arse. Now there was no way in hell that I was gonna miss what might be the one and only Y&T gig in Sweden ever. Well, Y&T decided to get back together for real after that show and just like me, they came back to the festival the year after. I have been going to Sweden Rock every year after that and Y&T has been coming to Sweden annually since then. And they are always great. No, they are always FUCKING great.

When they reunited they were 3/4 original members, Dave Meniketti (lead guitar, lead vocals), Philip Kennemore (bass) and Leonard Haze (drums) with John Nymann replacing the sick Joey Alves. In 2006 Haze had to go due to alcohol problems and was replaced by Mike Vanderhule and sadly in 2011, Meniketti’s brother and partner in crime Kennemore lost his battle with cancer. Luckily, Meniketti decided to keep the band alive with new bass player Brad Lang. As a live act, Y&T are now and have always been a tight bunch who would rather play shitloads of songs and gladly skip solo features to make room for songs instead. Except for their Sweden Rock gigs, they never play less than 20 songs on a gig, which is a lesson to be learned by other acts today! This evening they kicked off the set with the mighty “Mean Streak” and to be honest, there really isn’t a better set opener than that. “Hard Times” from their 1990 album Ten follows, a good song but in my book, not one of Y&T’s strongest. However, live it turns into a killer and so does their “we-really-really-need-a-hit-now” song “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark”, also from Ten. On record, it’s a bit cheesy, but it gets a totally new life when played live and when they kick up some dust with the awesome “Don’t Stop Runnin'” from In Rock We Trust (1984) the battle is won right there and then. “Black Tiger” and “Dirty Girl” are both raunchy rockers that is a must on a Y&T gig – do I need to state that they grooved like crazy? The brilliant “Midnight In Tokyo” slows things down just a little with its jazzy style before they play the first “new” song this evening. “How Long” is from Y&T’s reunion album Facemelter (2010) and not only does it sound like a Y&T classic, it goes down really well by the crowd as well. Seems like some people still buy records. If not illegally downloaded, that is. The brilliant and very melodic rocker “Lonely Side Of Town” goes down like a charm and “Lipstick And Leather” would have been a throwaway played by another band. But Y&T makes it groove and the ultra cliché lyrics aren’t embarrassing at all. Fact is, they were written back in 1984 when those kind of dirty lyrics hadn’t become cliché yet. Let’s say that song is the forefather of all clichés to be. “Hurricane” bursts out like a ZZ Top on steroids and this is really pedal to the metal groovy rock and roll. After a ride like that it feels really good when they slow things down a bit with the magnificent ballad “Winds Of Change” – maybe their finest ballad ever. To stir things even further they continue with the title track of their Contagious album. It’s a pretty blatant take at the then ongoing glammy trend of 1987 with its pop metal melody and its “Hey Hey Hey” chanting, but one can’t deny, Y&T does this stuff better than most and it’s a killer tune that goes down like a charm.

“I Want Your Money” is another “new” track from Facemelter and it’s not one of my favourites on that CD even tough a good song, but it really comes alive on stage and “Rescue Me” needs no introduction really. That song must be one of the best hard rock songs ever written. The fact that the bands doesn’t indulge themselves in one man solos doesn’t mean they can’t show off their skills. The instrumental “I’ll Cry For You” from Contagious is one of those slow bluesy Gary Moore – like tunes. Only that I take this one over optional Gary Moore instrumental every day of the week. “Squeeze” is a bit of a surprise as it was Philip Kennemore’s song and time in the front spot as he usually sings his ass off on this one. John Nymann takes his place on the lead vocals and he does a brilliant job with it – kudos to him for that. Down For The Count is one of Y&T’s most scolded at albums because of its downright flirting with the then ongoing melodic and poppy trends and “Summertime Girls” was the song that paved the way for the rest of the keyboard and pop friendly sounds on that album. That’s why it feels both fun and strange that that song is one of the songs that still remains in the set to this day. I think it’s great because I love the song and it actually gets the crowd going. The show ends with another one of those magnificent Y&T ballads, “I Believe In You” and the third “newie” of the evening, the cousin of “Forever” called “I’m Coming Home”. But of course, they don’t let the show end there. “Open Fire”, their ballbuster of a song starts a fabulous encore that ends with “Forever” – maybe Y&T’s most loved song, at least according to the crowd’s reaction – the whole place went havoc with this tune.

After that it’s good-bye for real and the band leaves us all sweaty with big smiles on our faces. Again, Y&T rocked my socks and everything else off. Any negative to bring up then? Well, not really, but I would like the band to take a chance with some of the songs from Down For The Count. “In The Name Of Rock” could be a great opener and “Anytime At All” could easily go from a pop metal number to a catchy hard rocker a la “Don’t Stop Runnin'”. Also, as a major Y&T fan, I could easily name 10 more songs I wanted to hear, but who can complain after no less than 22 songs? The fact that Y&T just contain one original member today doesn’t bother me at all, because this bunch are such awesome musicians. Ok, so Mike Vanderhule might not be a Leonard Haze – he’s way to strict and I almost get a drum teacher vibe from his playing, where Haze was all about groove and phenomenal fills. But Vanderhule, on the other hand, brings along mind-blowing backing vocals that impressed the hell out of me. Together with Lang’s high pitch and Nymann’s more rootsy singing, Y&T’s backing vocals totally kills almost everything out there today – and they laugh at backing tracks. And Dave Meniketti then. The guy turns 60 in December and he still plays like a mother f**ker. He has everything that I love in a guitarist. Emotion, balls, melody, technique, a fantastic tone and never ever does he overdo his playing. As a vocalist he has lost very little of his strength and he can still reach those notes. He also has a very personal voice to go with that. Oh yes, I admire that man. As a live act, Y&T are more or less unbeatable so, if you just like them just one little bit, then you should go and see them and I will guarantee that you are a fan when then the night is over. If you already are a big fan you’d be really stupid not to catch them.

Jon Wilmenius (10/10)

Setlist:

Mean Streak
Hard Times
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
Don’t Stop Runnin’
Black Tiger
Dirty Girl
Midnight In Tokyo
How Long
Lonely Side Of Town
Lipstick And Leather
Hurricane
Winds Of Change
Contagious
I Want Your Money
Rescue Me
I’ll Cry For You
Squeeze
Summertime Girls
I Believe In You
I’m Coming Home

Open Fire
Forever

14 comments on “Y&T – Debaser Medis, Stockholm, 2013-10-24

  1. Breaking news in archaeology: the Dawn of time discovered to actually be 1983!!

    Sounds like an amazing show. Do they have a single “good” greatest hits album that would make a good starting point?

    • Yeah, I believe there’s a Y&T Anthology out there. There’s also a killer live album called Yesterday & Today Live from 1992 that could be used as a best of. But you can easily buy all of their records unheard. 😉

    • Budgie… I never heard more than one or two songs by that band. I think those were ok, but I wasn’t floored by them.
      Quit Budgie and start Y&T instead… 😉

      • Oh man, I love Budgie. It’s like Rush-Sabbath-DC. That doesn’t mean I can’r start looking for Y&T. Maybe I should just see what I can find in town on vinyl.

    • I know, I was just kidding. A lot of people has been on my case about Budgie and I have been listening some on YouTube, but even though I hear that they are good, I’m not feeling it completely. Maybe I should give them another go.

    • Yes, I like this. This actually reminds me of Demon, if you know them. Budgie’s 70’s stuff that I have heard sounds heavier and darker than this. This song is pretty spot on on how metal should sound in 1982. Still metal, but with a commercial twist.

  2. Jon that’s actually a great set list!!! If they ever made it to my neck of the woods I would definitely go as well! For me though they always fell a little short esp toward the late eighties. I bought pretty much there stuff from Black Tiger/Meanstreak/In Rock We Trust/Open Fire….skipped Down For The Count and than purchased Contagious and the last one I bought was the Live album from there farewell show from 91/92…..
    Overall good stuff….cool review!

    • You should give their lates album Facemelter a shot, Deke. It holds real well against the early classic. The classic Y&T sound is still there and the songs are awesome.

      I think Down For The Count has shitloads of killer songs on it, it’s just that the production is really lame and some of the arrangements are a little too much pop. But overall that album still sounds a lot like Y&T. Kinda of like In Rock We Trust with more keyboards.

  3. I haven’t heard it, to be honest. I’m not really that big on live albums nowadays. Most of them just passes me by unnoticed, I’m afraid.

  4. The cool thing is that apart from a few “musts” like Rescue Me, Mean Streak, I Believe In You, Open Fire and Forever, they usually change the set around quite a good bit. I have never seen them play the same set list ever.

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