If there were awards being handed out for the unsung heroes of rock, then the name Dave Meniketti should without doubt be top of the pile. The only remaining original member of Y&T, his talent as both guitarist and singer is nothing short of brilliance. For two and a half hours, the man from Oakland, California gave the Dublin crowd a relentless masterclass. A dedicated crowd of classic rockers thronged to this tiny club to witness a band celebrate 40 years of ball breaking rock.
9.15pm, Meniketti and co take to the shoe box of a stage and rip into Hurricane from the 1981 album Earthshaker, immediately laying down a statement of intent. Black Tiger and LA Rocks swiftly follow to raise the decibel level. The mainly age mature audience get a bit of respite as Meniketti struggles to tune his battered Gibson. But normal service quickly resumes as Mean Streak hit the crowd firmly between the eyes. Being one of Y&T‘s signature tunes, everyone except the barman, fist pumped with genuine passion.
A lot of high-fives ensued when the opening chords of Midnight in Tokyo were sung. I remember my older brother spinning this in my parents backroom 31 years ago, and it’s impact still resonated with this crowd today. I must admit, it pisses me off that generations of so called music lovers don’t know this gem. Meniketti‘s tuning problems continue, but it only adds to the intimate atmosphere. While tinkering with his axe, he enlists drummer Mike Vanderhule to tell a couple of dirty jokes.
Surrender, Eyes of a Stranger and the wonderfully suggestive Contagious are played with military precision. This is largely due to the skills of rhythm guitarist John Nymann and bassist Brad Lang. Drummer Mike Vanderhule is no slouch either, his thunderous beats give Y&T a bruising backbone like no other. Lonely Side of Town was a major highlight for me, not because the song strikes any particular chord with me. The reason being, from the moment the band struck their first chord, an over exuberant fan beside me, high on hops and yeast was roaring for the song. Don’t get me wrong, I loved his passion, but he was shouting for it incessantly, like a parrot on speed.
|John Nymann(left) and Dave Meniketti|
A rare rendition of All American Boy goes down a storm, while Summertime Girls injects a real feel good factor, with it’s 80’s rousing chorus. But the real money shot was set closer I Believe in You, with both Meniketti and audience totally getting lost in the heart wrenching guitar work. This was a perfect example of this man’s sincerity, passion and astounding talent. On returning for the encore, Meniketti reminds club management, that on arrival, no food was laid on for the road crew, and that this entitled them to break curfew, damn right.
A near breaking point crowd still sang Don’t Wanna Lose and closer Forever like rock Armageddon was afoot. This was my first time seeing Y&T live, and while I headed home having had a stonking night, an empty feeling remained. The simple reason being, after 40 years of releasing great music, Y&T have never been truly rewarded, and have always been the bridesmaid. Look at the likes of Ratt and Motley Crue, both great bands, but are they better than Y&T, not a fuckin’ chance. In the height of the 80’s rock/metal domination, Y&T regularly tested these bands PA as a support act, yet the massive headline tours always eluded them.
But their fans have never drifted, they are one of the hardest working bands around today, their blue collar approach to their music and performance rubs off on their audience. A great night of pure classic rock. Long live Y&T.