Y&T – Debaser Medis, Stockholm, 2015-10-09

Dave MenikettiTo be honest, I’m not that sure if another live review of this Y&T gig will warrant anything new at all, in some ways it feels like I can just do a copy – paste of an old review because Y&T are always fantastic live and the always deliver the goods and they don’t sport a huge stage show with lots pyro and such. But at the same time, I hope that somebody might read this review that haven’t read the old ones and by that get inspired to go and see them the next time they play live. Because the fact is, Y&T are one of the most brilliant live acts I have ever seen in my entire life and everybody I have talked to that has seen them play agree with me – Y&T ARE a fantastic live band with fantastic songs and fantastic musicians. Y&T were once a band that managed to keep all their original members for many, many years, in a time when everybody changed line-up more often than seldom. From 1974 – 1986, the band were Dave Meniketti on lead vocals and lead guitar, Philip Kennemore on bass, Joey Alves on rhythm guitar and Leonard Haze on the drums. The first one to leave was Haze, because of illness and he was replaced by Jimmy DeGrasso (White Lion, Megadeth, Suicidal Tendencies and today in Black Star Riders) in 1987. Next to leave, just two years after was Alves , also because of illness, and he was replaced by Stef Burns before the band split up in 1991. Illness usually means alcohol and drugs when it’s used to describe rock band members and the Y&T case aren’t any different. Meniketti, Kennemore, Burns and DeGrasso reunited for two underwhelming records in the mid 90’s and called it quits again after that, somewhere in 1998. But back in 2003, Sweden Rock Festival called and would the band be interested to reunite for a gig at said festival and play Sweden for the first time ever? Hell yeah, they would, so Meniketti, Kennemore, Haze and new guitar player John Nymann played an amazing gig and the huge respond they got made them decide that they should to this permanently. However, Haze just lasted a few more years before his illness once again took the best of him and he was replaced by Mike Vanderhule in 2006. Still an amazing live band, tragedy would strike in 2010 when Phil Kennemore was diagnosed with cancer and finally bit the dust in January 2011. Meniketti’s musical partner and best friend since the early 70’s was gone and if you don’t look into the personal tragedy for Dave, would there even be a Y&T without Kennemore? To me, he was almost as important for the band’s sound as Meniketti himself. Fortunately, Dave decided on going and in Brad Lang he found, not a new Kennemore in any way, but a brilliant bass player and a damn good singer. Personally, I think it feels somewhat weird to see the band on stage without Kennemore, but Brad Lang does an amazing job!

The eternal show-intro “From The Moon” (Black Tiger, 1982) open this show and it goes directly into “Hurricane” (Earthshaker, 1981). “Hurricane” is a hard , energetic and hard rocker that should fit perfectly as a show opener (it’s the first time I have heard them open with it), but for some reason it feels somewhat stale. Not the band, but the audience hardly react and the sound is a bit daft. I’m a bit shocked as it is the first time this has happened at a Y&T gig. “L.A. Rocks” (Contagious, 1987) follows, but the song is not their most famous tune and “How Long” (Facemelter, 2010) is one of their newer tracks that maybe everyone has heard and therefore the reaction from the crowd is somewhat lukewarm. The band, however, kick some major ass and they sound just as fantastic as ever. But with “Lonely Side Of Town” (Mean Streak, 1983) things change and the crowd are on their feet and by the end of the song things are back to normal. “Black Tiger” sound just as hard and tight as always and “Rhythm Or Not” (Contagious) breathes a new life and sound more like classic Y&T tune than one of their more pop oriented late 80’s stuff. “Dirty Girl” (Earthshaker) is blues-rock deluxe and Meniketti’s guitar intro is nothing short of fabulous. “Midnight In Tokyo” (Mean Streak) is as brilliant as ever and Meniketti shows what a superb singer he still is when he does the first verse alone without any instruments to back it up. “Take You To The Limit” (Mean Streak) has never been a favourite of mine and I can’t remember if they have played it live before (they probably have…), but it really grows live and I look at the song differently now. “Cold Day In Hell” (Musically Incorrect, 1995) is a throwaway, but it’s the same thing here, I’m amazed of how well it works live. There are a few other songs I would rather hear, though. I Believe In You” (Earthshaker) is the ballad of all ballads and a must at every Y&T gig. The jam ending of the song is just amazing and again, I can’t believe how brilliant and underrated Dave Meniketti is. “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Contagious” (both off Contagious) have both become Y&T classics in later years. The band seems to love playing those and the audience seem to love hearing them. “I Want Your Money” (Facemelter) is another “newie”, but it could just as well have been one of their classic tunes. Big groove, big rock and it goes down really well. “Summertime Girls” (Down For The Count, 1985) is one of those pop-metal songs that rockers usually love to hate or the other way around, but Y&T gets away with it every time. Of course, “Summertime Girls” is a brilliant little pop-metal pearl and live without all the keyboards it rocks much harder. The backing vocals on it are also mind-blowing. “Rescue Me” (Earthshaker) is one of those tunes every rocker wish they had written – it just don’t much better than this. The show ends (well…) with a newer track off Facemelter, “I’m Coming Home”. The song is a sister song to “Forever” and it works like a charm after a classic like “Rescue Me”. Pure class. The first encore is the underrated “Hell Or High Water” (Black Tiger). It’s a song that I haven’t heard live in a long, long time and it’s one of my favourites, so there you go. Of course, no Y&T show is complete without “Forever” (Black Tiger) because it is one Y&T’s best and most popular songs and tonight it sounds fantastic.

After 20 songs and one intro, I can count at least 10 more songs I wanted to hear and that’s the problem with a band that has such a treasure chest full of songs to choose from. No matter which songs they play, there are always a bunch you wanted to hear as well. Not instead – as well. Any complaints then? No way! But I do have some suggestions. There are songs that have never been played live and one album that has been left more or less untouched is Down For The Count. I know it’s their “pop” album but songs like “Anytime At All”, “In The Name Of Rock”, “Face Like An Angel” and even “All American Boy” could very well turn out great live with a heavier arrangement. I’d love to hear the band try some of those songs out one time or another. Other than that, Y&T can more or less do as they please because with those members in the band they can never go wrong. Dave Meniketti is such an amazing musician. 62 years young in december, he still can sing away most of his colleagues half his age and as a guitarist he’s so underrated it’s ridiculous. Dave’s a bluesman and that mirrors everything he does – the guy is all about feel. The backing vocals from Nymann, Vanderhule and Lang is nothing short of jaw dropping. No backing tracks anywhere in sight – all live and all spot on. Vanderhule might not have Leonard Haze’s playfulness, but the guy is steady as a rock and brings swing to the groove. I will always miss Philip Kennemore, but Brad Lang is THE guy to replace him, if anyone should/could. Just like Kennemore he plays the bass, not just keeps the rhythm. John Nymann is almost a Y&T veteran by now and he has become Meniketti’s right hand. A wonderful rhythm player but when he get some leads and get to solo some, he show us all that he’s a real ace. To all of you who has never seen this band live, do it. This is a must see before you (or they) bite the dust. One of the best live acts I have ever seen.

9/10

Setlist:

1. From The Moon
2. Hurricane
3. L.A. Rocks
4. How Long
5. Lonely Side Of Town
6. Black Tiger
7. Rhythm Or Not
8. Mean Streak
9. Dirty Girl
10. Midnight In Tokyo
11. Take You To The Limit
12. Cold Day In Hell
13. I Believe In You
14. Eyes Of A Stranger
15. Contagious
16. I Want Your Money
17. Summertime Girls
18. Rescue Me
19. I’m Coming Home

20. Hell Or High Water
21. Forever

 

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