Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Icarus Witch
Label: Frontiers Records
Whatever the occasion might be, you always can be rest assured that when you go to see a Y&T show, that you are in for a rocking good time. The funny thing for me is that even though I have known about their music for a very long time, it was not until I picked up the role of Music Scribe that I began to catch them in action and this would be long after their initial heyday and short hiatus. Since their inception in 1974 the band has gone through some lineup changes but remained active in the Hard Rock scene despite a few years of hiatus before getting back to business. For the last few years we’ve been catching what appears to be the lineup for the duration as joining founder Dave Meniketti and bassist Phil Kennemore would be drummer Mike Vanderhule and guitarist John Nymann. Truth be told as long as we had Dave and Phil working together up there the rest would fall into place. Sadly, the news about Kennemore requiring back surgery and pulling off of the tour would come shortly before this gig would take place and filling in for him for the rest of the tour while he gets treated and recovers would be bassist Brad Lang. The show would feature only one opener in Icarus Witch and here is how the night went down for those who didn’t manage to attend.
Icarus Witch: Have you ever had those moments where you are made to realize that your previous perception of something was wrong? Well, this would be the case for me when it came to the band Icarus Witch. The first time I caught them they were opening up for and performing as the band for Paul DiAnno and while I felt that they were okay, it was nothing that really stuck in my head. Tonight I would be looking at Icarus Witch with different eyes as the band not only had a brand new lead singer who seemed much more accustomed to the role, but his method of delivery was on target a lot better than their previous dude. This is of course my own opinion but it was making me more of an interested Metal head in the crowd that was for sure. The band is still supporting their “Draw Down The Moon” release and it is nothing less than solid Traditional Metal which is never a bad thing. I recently snared a copy of the CD and am enjoying what it is all about for the most part but I have to say that I am seriously wondering what recorded material will be like with Christopher Shaner singing them. The guitars of lead shredder Quinn Lukas and Ed Skero were very nice tonight and I observed many of the audience members getting into their set. This was a good thing because this was a hard core Y&T crowd and sometimes a grouping like that only cares about one thing – the main band. Me, I personally like a longer show with more bands as long as it is a good one and does not find their set compromising the headliners by playing too long. That would not be the case tonight and I think it is safe to say that Icarus Witch left the stage this evening with a number of new fans under their belts. Nice work guys, keep it up. I look forward to seeing them develop as a band and be known for more than just being the band that served as DiAnno’s group when he toured here.
Y&T: I must admit that even though I loved a healthy chunk of Y&T material over the years and especially during their most influential time as a band, that tonight would mark only the third time that I was getting to see them in concert. I was sad about Phil sitting this round out because he is such a solid bassist and hell of a nice guy to boot, but lets give it up for the pinch hitter Brad Land as I am sure he will do these tunes justice. The band was announced as expected by Eddie Trunk, who is not only a radio host but also a bit of a television icon for Metal now with his “That Metal Show”. Trunk is a big supporter of the band so his calling the troops to arms this evening was an expectation. I’ve mentioned before how as soon as the band hits the stage that they are kicking ass and tonight would be no exception. They began the show with “Open Fire” which is a superb intro number and as they played the fists were pumping and the crowd was singing. You cannot do anything less when a band like this is on the stage. With my being guilty of only being accustomed to “the main tunes”, I always found myself listening for things I remembered most from the compilation “Best Of ’81 To ‘85” and their stellar live album “Yesterday & Today Live”. That being said the next tune up would be “Don’t Wanna Lose You” and it was onto the “Meanstreak” right after. That’s another killer number and a song that has “live” written all over it. Dave Meniketti is not only a stellar guitar player but also one of the few vocalists whose register seems just as strong as it used to back in the day. There are so many who do not have this luxury and still go out there pretending that they do. Lucky for everyone here tonight there was nothing to worry about.
The band has a new album called “Facemelter” which comes care of Frontiers Records and while the songs are new, the overall vibe of the album calls to mind the bands earlier vintage. That is a great thing and one that is guaranteed to keep their legacy fan base while at the same time bringing newer fans into their army of supporters. Some might find fault in the band sticking to form instead of pressing forward into new uncharted ground but with bands like Y&T you are better served by letting them continue delivery of a sound that knows no equal. Since many bands who explore too much end up disappointing me, I am totally fine with Y&T sticking to their guns. Two songs came from the new release with “Shine On” and “If You Want Me” but then they would switch it up by slapping us with “Don’t Stop Runnin’ which is a long time favorite of mine. They would hit the new release, do another classic and then back to the final new tune presentations for the night with “On With The Show”. It was somewhere around here that Meniketti stopped to talk to the crowd and mention that not only had Phil been needing a necessary back surgery, but how the doctors had also found out that he had cancer. This news caused a serious hush across the venue and it was indeed a shock since no one could even fathom how far along this illness actually was. Meniketti said the doctors were on point and getting Phil the treatment he needed to bear this and that was a relief as the music world had already lost Ronnie James Dio this year and all were sending Kennemore the necessary positive energy in this time of need.
The delivery of the quality Hard Rock continued and of course my favorites kept on coming as “Black Tiger”, “Hurricane” and “Summertime Girls” were executed to perfection. I remembered that one of my friends complained how Alves never came back after Stef Burns left but I really feel that the work that guitarist John Nymann does is a credit to the band. The same applies for Vanderhule who had some serious shoes to fill as the replacement for Leonard Haze. I was surprised that we didn’t get “Lipstick and Leather” tonight but that had to be sacrificed in order to showcase some of their new tunes. “Forever” was the second to last before “Rescue Me” closed up the show and as usual the band would be hanging around near the backstage entrance in order to meet with some of their fans before the club changed over into the mode for the late night Hip Hop show. As people walked out the talk was a mix of how great the show was and how concerned they were about Phil’s state of health but we had to take the word of Dave who reported the news that all was being addressed by the experts. We all wish Phil a speedy treatment and recovery because there is no one like him when it comes to the band Y&T even though Brad Lang did a wonderful job.
As far as I was concerned, all I could muster by the end of the night was “Wow” because it was a knock down show. It was still rather early but this was par for the course with weekend Rock shows at the venue because they double up their events and as soon as the rockers walk out, the Rap crowd walks in to keep a different party running. Despite this, the week was set to be exciting for many of the Rock set as Lillian Axe would be performing here for the first time ever on Monday and then on Wednesday was the return of Night Ranger. I looked forward to both of these shows. Stay tuned.
Icarus Witch Set List:
Y&T Set List:
1. Open Fire
2. Don’t Wanna Lose You
4. Lonely Side Of Town
5. Shine On *
6. If You Want Me *
7. Don’t Stop Runnin’
8. I’m Coming Home *
9. I Believe In You
10. On With The Show *
11. Eyes Of A Stranger
12. Black Tiger
13. Barroom Boogies
14. I’ll Cry For You
16. Dirty Girl
17. Summertime Girls
19. Rescue Me – encore
It’s never a bad thing to put the bands name up in lights in the blog postings, and it might even help draw in some additional bodies to this rocking show.
Here’s a couple of shots of Eddie Trunk doing his announcing thing.
Eddie always tosses out a bunch of t-shirts that sometimes sport the band logo for who is playing but tonight would be using his “Eddie Trunk Rocks” shirts. I managed to snare one for myself tonight, so that was cool. Sorry, I did not photograph it for your viewing pleasure. Maybe next time.
Here’s a shot of “Phil-in” bassist Brad Lang. He really did a great job tonight so we snared a photo of him with the great B.B. King’s neon behind him.
Here’s a couple of shots of openers Icarus Witch who we caught up with in the dressing room after their brief set.
What’s a Metal shot with no horns? The guys obliged and responded with a very interesting pose.
Before the whole show began we snapped a photo of radio/television personality Eddie Trunk with the guys in Icarus Witch. We figured that this would be something that they liked so here it is.