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Y & T/Stampede, The Garage, Highbury
ago, Y and T were invariably one of those should have been huge bands
from the eighties who cropped up in 'where are they now' conversations.
Yet now you can set your watch by their autumn tours of the UK, this
being the sixth in succession. The same fans come back over and over
again, and rightly so as they deliver the goods and more every time.
though, Stampede proved that UK bands who fit the same
description can come back from the dead too.
With a first
album in 28 years, A Sudden Impulse under their belts, they proved the
perfect warm up act. Three of the original line up are still there,
including Reuben Archer who still has the hair, the stage moves and the
vitality you have no right to expect from a trouper well into his
sixties, his stepson, hotshot if rather dour looking guitarist Laurence
Archer, and solid bassist Colin Bond. Recently a second guitarist in
Chris Clowsley has been added to a line up completed by drummer Steve
Graystone and he very effectively thickened out the sound.
Shadow of the Night which sounded uncannily like Chapman era UFO (small
wonder Laurence did a stint with the band), new songs such as the
groove-oriented Having Fun and Send Me Down an Angel (with a riff that
sounded like Stone in Love and a bold audience singalong) nestled
comfortably alongside such long forgotten gems as Days of Wine and
Roses, and perhaps the best song of the set Missing You, with an
outstanding solo from Laurence.
and The Runner ended a short 35 minute set with many people wanting
more, and it is to be hoped Stampede's unlikely revival continues with
some longer headline sets.
That set the
scene nicely for another marathon Y and T set, with new song On
With the Show proving the perfect call to action, before it was straight
into some of their classics in Black Tiger and Dirty Girl, plus a pair
from Mean Streak, the uncompromising title track and Midnight in Tokyo,
which with its twin guitar intro and outro and its galloping riff, is
perhaps my all time favourite Y and T song.
attention as always is Dave Meniketti, now the sole original member but
always the focal point of the band with his strong singing and
incendiary guitar playing.
To play both
roles cannot be easy, and yet he puts his heart and soul into both and
his sweat soaked energy is always a wonder to behold, especially for a
man nearer 60 than 50. Long-haired second guitarist John Nymann and
powerhouse drummer Mike Vanderhule are now relative Y and T veterans and
a key part of the sound.
was the first tour since the passing of long-time bassist Phil Kennemore,
but his replacement Brad Lang fits in easily with his archetypal LA rock
star shapes, though his bass playing seemed to these ears a bit less
bottom heavy in comparison.
Shine On was
dedicated to Phil's memory, leading a trio of songs from last year's
Facemelter album, If You Want Me with a great solo, and Blind Patriot,
going back to Y and T's heaviest rocking early days with the guitarists
swapping lead breaks.
One of the
many admirable facets of a Y and T show is the regularity with which
some of their lesser played songs get slipped into the set, and even
differ night to night. On this occasion what the Yanks call the 'deep
cuts' were Surrender from 1990's underrated 'Ten' album- dedicated to a
fan from Japan - Winds of Change and Lonely Side of Town, with a great
also marked the 30th anniversary of their breakthrough album 'Earthshaker':
it was not featured as heavily here as on some of the other tour dates,
although opening cut Hungry for Rock, with its raw almost AC/DC esque
feel, was given a rare dusting down. From the same album though, a
personal highlight was the epic I Believe in You and a truly incredible
extended solo from Dave as he wrung every last ounce of emotion from his
battered Gibson SG.
By now we
were into 'hit' territory and Hurricane, Summertime Girls- the best Van
Halen song they never wrote- and dance floor filler Rescue Me had the
place rocking, too much so in the case of some slam dancers old enough
to know better!
obscurity in 1985's Looks Like Trouble was in the same mould as Barroom
Boogie which was unexpectedly omitted, while a surprise of the night saw
John take the mike and reveal Dave had asked him to sing Phil's old
signature song, Squeeze. I hope it isn't disrespectful to say that in my
view he did a better job, with a voice that reminded me of Styx's James
It was also
refreshing that they should finish with another newie in I'm Coming
Home, and by now the official 1030 curfew had already been exceeded, but
Y and T give their fans full value for money, and took the set to a
marathon 2 hours 25 minutes with a brace of encores.
was no less enjoyable for being moved from its traditional place opening
the set, then long-time Y and T fan Jeff Scott Soto was brought on and
effortlessly slotted into sharing vocal duties on Forever, which had the
whole crowd bouncing, singing and punching the air.
underrated band with a great back catalogue who give their all, vary
their set for the fans and play non stop for well over 2 hours- how can
you afford to miss out when hopefully they come back again next autumn?
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