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Friday, 3 November 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Y&T

Y&T and Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters, Tramshed Cardiff

It was brisk night in Cardiff as we headed to the Tramshed for our third gig in three days, the last time we were here the mighty Gov't Mule were kicking out the jams to a packed out crowd. This time it was a band who were different style but still prefer to play all night. Yes that's right folks it was time for annual Y&T marathon, the band play either Cardiff or Bristol every year and this time it was Cardiff's turn to host the San Francisco band, you always get value for money with Y&T as they play for 2 hours + so that's why I keep coming back. Before that though they had a local support to warm everyone up so we entered the venue early to catch them. 

I took my seat on the closed balcony (the balcony was shut to most punters except those with an ailment) and watched as the faithful Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disaster (8) fans crowded to the front. The Cardiff band burst onto the stage win full glam rock fury the eponymous Beth chugging away at her Paul Stanley Custom guitar while Sam Brain thumped the tubs (more on that later) and Luke Strickland carved out fluid leads over the top of the stomping riffs, the only absence was Nick Goodwin's bass which didn't seem to be audible at all. Beth is the ideal frontwoman and her vocal prowess has come on leaps and bounds since I've been watching them, she knows how to work a crowd, prowling the stage and even ending up on her knees.

It's her infectious enthusiasm that make this band so damn watchable, Luke stays fairly stationary but his solos and lead breaks come with ease being the ideal Spaceman to her Starchild. About three songs in we finally got bass which toughened up the sound but then it cut out again, still the band weren't crying over spilt milk forging ahead with what little time they had. BBATBD were a great warm up act for Y&T having a fire here to try and steal the show playing the best I think I've ever seen them play, they managed well on the big stage which bodes well for their appearance at HRH in weeks time. Keep an eye out as this was a very good set.

As the BBATBD fans moved away from the front the headcases that follow Y&T (8) made their way to the front as the crowd swelled behind them. With no real fanfare they took to the stage and the opening riff of Black Tiger got everyone jumping with a classic, what followed was Lipstick & Leather, Straight Thru The Heart, Dirty Girl, Eyes Of Stranger and Mean Streak. The first six songs of the set were full on classic Y&T, Dave Meniketti leading his troops through some glorious 80's hard rock. He's backed by the powerful rhythm guitar and showboating of John Nymann who also contributes some solos and lead vocals on Squeeze. It came as a pleasant surprise when Dave announced that he would be playing two tracks from his Meniketti side project, this meant we were treated to two bluesier numbers with the epic Storms rounding out the duo with Meniketti showing off his skills with a tremendous guitar solo.

It was a real moment so to bring everyone back down from the euphoria the muscular ballad Winds Of Change was dedicated to all of the recently deceased former members of Y&T, a poignant moment that was followed by the rarely played Masters & Slaves. As they edged towards the latter part of their set the always colossal I Believe In You, then things got sillier with Rock And Roll's Gonna Save The WorldSummertime Girls and Baroom Boogie before the I'm Coming Home finished the main set. What I noticed from my higher vantage point was that drummer Mike Vanderhule really works his ass off behind the kit, I've noticed it before but he's a jazz-inflected powerhouse, with I'm Coming Home they went off the stage, then a short time later returned for the classic encores of Rescue Me and Forever. This was a more varied set from Y&T than on previous tours taking tracks that are album only songs not the big hitters meant this show felt more 'for the fans', Y&T are always an entertaining band to see live and it was business as usual at the Tramshed.  

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