Hard Rock Corner: Y&T

Live at Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, PA, March 6, 2019

Mar 20, 2019 By Frank Valish Web Exclusive
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Only the most hardcore of '80s metalheads could be expected to venture out to see Y&T at an old theater in Sellersville, PA on a cold random Wednesday in early March. But by 7:30 PM on this particular Wednesday, the lobby of this charming theater was jam packed with just that, a bevy of 60-something year old former rockers, seeming perhaps a little worse for the wear but nonetheless ready to party like it was 1982.

Y&T was born in the early 1970s in San Francisco, CA, led by vocalist and guitarist Dave Meniketti, who initially christened his band Yesterday and Today after the Beatles album of the same name. After two albums of powerful '70s hard rock, the band shortened its name to Y&T and embarked on what would become a fruitful early- to mid-'80s period. While the band never stopped recording (its most recent studio album was released in 2010), Y&T's prime years were 1981 through 1985, when they were signed to major label A&M and cranked out hits like "Mean Streak," "Don't Stop Runnin'," and the power pop gem "Summertime Girls."    

On this night in Sellersville, Meniketti and his current band-guitarist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh, and drummer Mike Vanderhule-played like they were in the primes of their careers. Over 23 songs and more than two-and-a-half hours, Y&T burned the house down in powerful rock fashion.

After ripping through "Hurricane," "Lonely Side of Town," and "Don't Stop Runnin'," without even so much as a hello to the crowd, the band introduced what was to be the conceit of the night, playing at least one song from each of the band's 12 studio albums.

Before starting "Earthshaker," from the band's 1976 debut, Meniketti told tale of how the founding members of Tesla took inspiration for their first band from the song, which Meniketti said, "started it all. It was stunning to hear "Earthshaker" and "Shake Down," the title track from the band's second album, played live, sounding all '70s rock and giving a valuable window into the band's beginnings. As such, jumping from these two early gems to the lesser 2010 track "I Want Your Money" was a bit of culture shock.

Y&T's '90s tracks, recorded at the time of grunge, a term that when acknowledged by Meniketti elicited a rousing round of boos from the crowd, were a mixed bag. "21st Century" showed how much Y&T was out of step with the times in 1995. But "Sail On By," from 1998's Endangered Species, sounded particularly delicate and affecting.

Nonetheless, the '80s proved the biggest draw of the night, in furious rocking songs like "Hang  'Em High," "Rescue Me," "Open Fire," "Forever," "Hurricane," and the audience-requested and unrehearsed "Go for the Throat." Meniketti's vocals sounded pristine. His lead guitar and the guitar harmonies of he and Nymann were perfectly tight. The plethora of obligatory guitar solos by Meniketti were staggering.

Although Y&T made its name in the '80s, and its studio recordings from the time can sound at times conspicuously of the decade, these songs played live betray the truth of the matter, that Meniketti and Y&T are masters of the riff. Soloing aside, these songs contain some of the best guitar riffs in rock. And they were performed with the all energy and enthusiasm of a band 30 years younger. Y&T was at the top of its game. It was like witnessing a stadium show in a small theater in the middle of nowhere. For this neophyte, it was revelatory. For the rest of the '80s metalheads in attendance, it seemed like it was just a Wednesday.

(www.yandtrocks.com)

 



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March 25th 2019
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