||Y&T TAKE YOU TO THE LIMIT IN GLASGOW WHILE PRAYING MANTIS CRANK IT UP TO THE POWER OF TEN
Y&T/Praying Mantis: The Garage, Glasgow
Thursday 3rd November 2016
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
You know it's getting close to Winter when Y&T roll into town, and this year is no exception. The band's UK tour has been nicely centered around November in recent years and they've have put in some stunning performances to an ever growing audience.
Y&T were a band who were off the radar until I was lucky enough to see them a couple of years ago at Hard Rock Hell and since then they've become firm favourites. Always afforded a warm welcome in Glasgow, touring this year is a celebration of forty years since their self-titled debut album was released and the gig was positive proof that they've still got much more to offer.
As an added bones, support for the whole tour came from New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) legends Praying Mantis, making this an unmissable show. As Mantis took to the stage, literally not long after doors open time, they were playing to a more modest crowd that I'm sure they're used to. With a club night on at the venue from 11:00pm and Y&T set to play a set of around two hours for most nights of the tour, it was unfortunate about the early stage time for Praying Mantis but the band made the most of it.
Celebrating the 35th anniversary of their debut album, 'Time Tells No Lies', in 2016 I was hoping for a few more tracks from it, but due to the shortened set of around half a dozen songs there wasn't enough time, but Mantis were on fire from the get go.
Recently re-energised by the release of their 'Legacy' album last year, the band have been on the road since April and it showed in their slick performance just how well oiled the Praying Mantis machine is. Frontman John Cuijpers and guitarist Tino Troy seem to be having the time of their life as they flew through their set and with still a few chances to see them this year, I suggest you take to the opportunity to catch them wherever you can.
MetalTalk will be seeing them again next week at Hard Rock Hell and we're expecting more of the same.
As the clock struck 8:00pm, the house lights dimmed and Y&T's intro tape played to a massive roar from the audience, which had swelled greatly since Praying Mantis' earlier set, and as each band member made their way on stage, the warmth of the reception was almost tangible. The loudest cheer, of course, was left for frontman and guiding light Dave Meniketti, and the huge smile on his face told its own story.
Without uttering a word, the band blasted into 'On With The Show' and there was no looking back. "It's great to be back!" said Meniketti at one point before adding "different place but the same thing, y'know, you get the idea right?" before moving things along quickly with 'Dirty Girl' and it was here that guitarist John Nymann came into his own with the guitar solo before Meniketti countered with a mesmerising solo of his own, both of which warranted a huge round of applause at the end of each one.
The inevitable 'Mean Streak' followed with Nymann not even trying to hide his joy as he bounded around the stage. The song quite rightly recieved another huge ovation, even though it was placed early in the set, and that just meant that other classics like 'Forever' and 'Summertime Girls' were left until nearer the end of their set – and that was a long way off at this point.
"I can say with all certainty that we're gonna play for at least two hours!" quipped Meniketti to loud cheers before adding "Maybe two-and-a-half, if you can handle it", proving that no-one seemed to be in a hurry to go home.
'Winds Of Change' was thoughtfully dedicated to original Y&T sticksman Leonard Haze who sadly passed last month aged 61, and to the band's old soundman who passed away a few days previously, which brought the party atmosphere down a bit, understandably, but it gifted Meniketti possibly his best vocal performance of the evening – outstanding from start to finish. The band didn't dwell, however, and it was back to business as usual with the upbeat 'Blind Patriot' which restored the party vibe.
'I'll Keep On Believin' also had the audience singing along without needing prompting and even Praying Mantis' Tino Troy ventured out front to witness a spellbinding performance. It was Nymann's turn to let loose again during 'Black Tiger' as he got up close and personal with the front row to a mass of camera phones, before the introduction to the next track was pre-empted by a punter shouting "Midnight In Tokyo!"
"We have someone who can see into the future - the very near future," Meniketti joked before it was crowd sing-along time once again as he lead the audience through the first verse before the rest of the band finally chimed in.
Bass player Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule are a prodigious engine room for the band and this couldn't be demonstrated any better than it was during 'Take You To The Limit' before the full on rocker that is 'Hang 'Em High' gave Meniketti another chance to showcase his vocal talents. The pace mellowed once again with 'I Believe In You' which gave the band a break from the hectic pace of the set and allowed Leigh and Vanderhule to lead the way again before Meniketti popped in a tour-de-force solo which was a watershed moment and showed exactly why Y&T are still a dominant live act.
Someone at the front had been holding up a sign for most of the night asking for 'Rock N Roll's Gonna Save The World' and eventually Meniketti could resist no longer, telling her "since you went to so much trouble to make the sign we'd better play the song", which deviated from the band's setlist but despite being an unplanned number was played perfectly and the ovation at the end was well deserved.
'I'm Coming Home' was the last of the band's regular set and had the audience singing along once again before the band headed off stage, only to return dedicating another song to former bass player Phil Kennemore before their one-hundred-and-forty minute set was brought to an end with 'Forever'.
Just like the rest of the audience, I'd have been happy to listen to the band play more but with the venue to be cleared and tidied up for the impending club night, this unfortunately wasn't going to happen. Every single track was a winner and I'm already looking forward to the return of the band to the UK, so same time, same place next year, please boys?
Praying Mantis Setlist:
Fight for Your Honour
Children Of the Earth
Praying Mantis are:
John Cuijpers – Vocals/Guitar
Tino Troy – Guitar
Andy Burgess – Guitar
Chris Troy – Bass Guitar
Hans in't Zandt – Drums
On With The Show
Lipstick And Leather
Keep On Running
Don't Bring Me Down
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark
Winds Of Change
I'll Keep On Believin'
Midnight In Tokyo
Down And Dirty
Take You To The Limit
Hang 'Em High
I Believe In You
Rock N' Roll's Gonna Save The World
I'm Coming Home
Dave Meniketti – Vocals/Guitar
John Nymann – Guitar
Aaron Leigh – Bass Guitar
Mike Vanderhule – Drums