|Y&T/Ron Keel – Cardiff, The Globe, - 5th November 2009|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Thursday, 12 November 2009 17:43|
Can you think of a better way to celebrate Bonfire Night than staring into a crisp clear night sky full of exploding fireworks whilst chomping down on some half cooked offal products in between the obligatory mass "ooohs" and "aaahs?"
Well, I most certainly can and it involves not one of the above, but two of America's finest arena rockers from the Eighties, namely Keel and Messrs Meniketti, Kennemore, Nymann and Vanderhule from the mighty Y&T playing in one of the finest (and most bohemian) venues anywhere in Britain today.
So putting the full scale consumerist armageddon of the outside world behind me, it was something of a shock to see Ron Keel take the stage all on his lonesome, strumming acoustically some of his career's most memorable tracks to an already packed and fully appreciative crowd. Maybe it's the time Ron has spent honing his country music career recently that has focussed his stage manner, but the consummate and warm nature in which he engaged with the crowd ensured that his thirty odd minutes on stage flew past in a whirlwind of classic Steeler ('Serenade' anyone?) and Keel tracks, including the cover of Patti Smith's 'Because The Night'. Before leaving us Ron proudly announced that Keel have also recently signed with Frontiers Records and are planning a new album for 2010.
Also planning a new album for Summer 2010 are San Francisco's finest exponents of hard rock, the awesome Y&T. And although we didn't get any tracks from said opus, what we did get was two hours plus of classic hard rock played with the passion and zeal that has been the band's trademark for some thirty-five years. But then with that time together as a band in one line up or another what else would you expect from a band who in my eyes are up there with the likes of Kiss, Montrose, Journey and Van Halen as true legends of American rock.
Kicking off with a frantic version of 'Open Fire' delivered like a band a quarter their age, it was immediately clear that the hardcore were most certainly in the jam packed house tonight, and by the looks of them very many would also have been at the now legendary 'Mean Streak' tour debut Welsh show at St David's Hall in November 1983. In fact one guy in front of me was actually wearing a still pristine shirt from said show.
In a set crammed full of album best tracks, Y&T could really not have set a foot wrong, with the likes of 'Midnight In Tokyo', 'Black Tiger' and a towering rendition of 'Dirty Girl' all drawing on the band's trio of classic early Eighties albums.
If I have to make a confession here tonight, it is that up until about and hour into the band's set I had never really watched Dave Meniketti play guitar, but boy can Dave mix it with the best of them, switching effortlessly from maximum full force rock n roll riffing to bluesy jams in the blink of an eye and the work he does during 'I Believe In You' distils all of this into around eight minutes of pure musical ecstasy.
Not to be outdone by his long-term partner in crime (America's answer to Pete Way), Phil Kennemore managed to almost steal the show with a full force rendition of Earthshaker's lost gem 'Squeeze', enticing the crowd to shout "Fuck You Phil" at every conceivable point. Cardiff you have indeed been Kennemore'd!
At over two hours long the set did maybe contain one or two bits of musical self indulgence that most seemed to use as an excuse to refill their glasses at the bar, but when you have band members as adept as Mike Vanderhule and John Nymann (who incidentally was the most relaxed rhythm player I've seen this side of Walter Lure) you can only be considered mega thirsty or bloody stupid to miss such showmanship up that close and personal.
By the time the band's guitar tech appeared wearing a Corona beer box on his head I was hoping it was going to cue an arrival from the legendary 'In Rock We Trust' era tour mascot, but no it sadly wasn't to be...damn, none the less his efforts were definitely appreciated and a damn site more convincing than the 1984 Donington version..
As the evening drew to a close with a pounding 'Forever' and the encore of my all time fave Y&T song 'Rescue Me' I was certainly glad that of all the options I had open to me on a Bonfire Night (MTV Europe Music Awards anyone?) the one I had chosen had left me sweat drenched and 'Hungry For Rock'. (Oh and before you say anything I know they didn't play this track, it's just meant as a witty ending!)