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Y&T/Voodoo Vegas, The Garage, Glasgow

johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
9th November 2017

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Since 1974, Y&T have been rocking audiences all over the world. The Californian quartet may have had a few line-up changes over the years but the driving force of the band, front man Dave Meniketti, strives every night to give the best show he can.

I've yet to see a bad show from these guys, so I was once again expecting a top-notch evening of hard rocking classics – and I wasn't disappointed.

Bournemouth's rapidly rising quintet Voodoo Vegas have been making a name for themselves over the past few years. Over the years they've shared stages with some of the biggest names in rock n' roll including ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, Status Quo and Y&T all over Europe.

Their last full-length studio effort was their excellent debut album, 'The Rise of Jimmy Silver', back in 2013 which was followed up by the 'Hypnotise' EP a year later and their most recent release, 2016's 'Freak Show Candy Floss' was a favourite release of mine – and still is.

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Although they may have been quiet in the recording stakes, the Voodoo Vegas' touring schedule, on the other hand, has been relentless around the UK and Europe but not, as front man Lawrence Case points out have they been so prolific north of the border.

"We only found out about this show a week ago" he explained before adding that it's been a long time since they last ventured up to Glasgow before joking "Scotland – it's such a long way!"

Indeed, an eight hour plus drive for a thirty-minute set shows how much these kinds of opportunities mean to Voodoo Vegas and they didn't shirk their responsibilities when it came to entertainment.

With an early curfew on the venue due to their club night, the Dorsetters were unfortunately not playing to a full house but their performance could have had you thinking that they were.

For those en route to the venue when they played, you missed a great set from a truly under-rated British act. Pulling tracks from all their releases, the band put in a storming set in front of the small but very appreciative audience.

Lawrence is a truly fantastic front man who just oozes charisma and talent while guitarist Merylina Hamilton put in a stunning performance.

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Highlights included 'The Ferry Song' and 'So Unkind' which had a bit of audience participation added to the mix while it was very much a case of leaving the best till last with 'King Without A Crown'.

If you haven't heard of Voodoo Vegas, go and seek them out because bands with this much talent need your support now more than ever.

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Voodoo Vegas Set List:
Tied Up
The Ferry Song
So Unkind
King Without A Crown

Voodoo Vegas are:
Lawrence Case – Vocals/Harmonica
Merylina Hamilton – Guitar
Jon Dawson – Guitar
Ash Moulton – Bass Guitar
Mike Rigler – Drums


To be honest, I was a late-starter when it came to experiencing the pure joy of seeing Y&T live, having caught them for my first time at the Hard Rock Hell a few years ago.

Since then I've managed to see the band every year (usually in November) and it's fast becoming a regular annual gig for me like (the mighty) Status Quo has been for, well, years.

Back to full strength after the absence of guitarist John Nymann for a couple of UK festivals back in July, Dave and the rest of the band really are professionalism personified.

There were no un-necessary gaps in the set, the hits are there to be checked off by those fair-weather fans in attendance while a selection of album tracks and rarely heard numbers kept the hardcore fans happy too.

With Voodoo Vegas dispatched early, it was 7:45 on the dot as John and Dave made their way on stage to a huge roar, followed by bass guitarist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule.

From the start to the finish, sound man Achim Koehler knew his job and made sure the band have sounded the best they've ever have.

Dave doesn't usually do a lot of talking between the songs but his interactions with the audience were worth waiting for. During a lull, someone started shouting out requests to which Dave pointed out "If we've got time at the end, we might be able to take a few requests."

As it turned out this didn't happen but a high-octane dash though the Y&T back catalogue was more than enough for even the most hardened fan.

The classic Y&T numbers were all here including 'Lipstick & Leather' giving the audience an early chance to sing-along and 'Dirty Girl' which gifted John his first showcase performance of the show, and it was enthusiastically applauded before Dave stepped up to centre stage with his impressive solo.

'Mean Streak' also featured, of course, which energised the excitable audience even more with Dave's guitar solo absolutely electric – a bit like the atmosphere.

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In a change of pace, Dave introduced two numbers, 'Lay Me Down' and 'Storm', from his self-titled release from 2002.

He told the audience they were specially selected from the tour and haven't been performed live for years so a definite highlight of the evening as he put in a passionate performance on the former.

Another rarity in the set was 'Barroom Boogie' from 1982s 'Black Tiger' album. Written by ex-bass player Phil Kennemore, explained Dave, who was "the biggest rock and roller I ever knew", and the audience were up for a boogie and a singsong of their own.

While not trying to dampen the enthusiasm of the audience, Dave felt it right and proper to pay tribute to the three original band members who've since left us –Phil Kennemore, drummer Leonard Haze and guitarist Joey Alves, who sadly died earlier this year. 'Winds of Change' was a fitting tribute and the emotion in the room was tangible and the track was loudly applauded at its conclusion.

'Masters and Slaves' picked the pace up and saw a few headbangers down the front getting into the groove as the tight rhythm section of Aaron, so engrossed he was a picture of concentration during the set, only occasionally venturing a smile, and Mike who attacked the drums with power and precision but made everything look so effortless.

A call for 'Earthshaker' from the audience was initially dismissed by Dave but he decided to give it a try, faltering slightly before the rest of the band pitched in. The track came to an abrupt halt with Dave asking John "Is that how it goes?" before conceding that they "didn't work that one out" so it was abandoned.

Back on track, 'I Believe in You' allowed Dave to show his guitar skills once again during the slow bluesy solo, and the audience reaction at the end told you everything. Notably for a popular track like this there were fewer mobile phones hoisted stage-wards and much more waving of arms from the audience – just like the old days.

An unprompted audience sing-along during 'Contagious' kept the band on their toes while Dave and Aaron engaged in some tomfoolery as they faced off against each other much to everyone's delight before Mike's extended drum solo.

'Rock & Roll's Gonna Save the World' continued the set apace, which as Dave explained "makes more sense now than it did when it was written in 1984" and it certainly kept the party vibe going as they pushed on towards the end of their set.

John took to centre stage with the vocals for 'Squeeze' before Dave tried to steal his thunder with a mesmerising guitar solo on the fast-paced but fun number before they closed off their main set with 'I'm Coming Home'.

Not ones to waste time, there's no running off stage before the encore as the cracked on with 'Rescue Me'. The band were so short of time they had to drop 'Midnight in Tokyo' as they went straight into the final number, 'Forever' coming to the end of their mammoth two hour set which was packed with all killer and no filler tracks and in turn, putting some bands half their age to shame.

Y&T have never been so good live, and these guys look like they could go on playing like this for, well, forever!

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Y&T Set List:
Black Tiger
Lipstick and Leather
Straight Thru the Heart
Dirty Girl
Eyes of a Stranger
Mean Streak
Lay Me Down
Winds of Change
Masters and Slaves
Hang 'em High
I Believe in You
Rock & Roll's Gonna Save the World
Summertime Girls
Barroom Boogie
I'm Coming Home
Rescue Me

Y&T are:
Dave Meniketti – Vocals/Lead Guitar
John Nymann – Guitar
Aaron Leigh – Bass Guitar
Mike Vanderhule – Drums


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