Y & T/Tigertailz
Bristol Thekla
28th October 2007

It's my first time at The Thekla in Bristol, and I am a little surprised to find out when I get there that it's a boat. Yep – moored permanently in the docks, the Thekla is a small boat with a restaurant on it that also holds gigs and club nights. From the outside it looks pretty tiny, and I cannot believe that I've come here to see a band of the quality of Y&T.

We wander up and down various staircases in a very Spinal Tap sort of way until we
find the gig, located at the bottom of the boat. There's a few people in, but
definitely room for more, with a fair smattering of shirts that could be exhibited
and called “Y&T t-shirts through the ages”. It's a good job so many people brought
their own, as the official shirt is pretty pants. The stage is just about big enough
for a 5 man band, with no lighting except a few unblinking stage lights. It's the
sort of place where you have just your talent to rely on.

Tigertailz have never really been a favourite band of mine, although they certainly
have penned a few hummable ditties. I found their recent album to be pretty awful
and am not expecting much of a show. It's always nice to be surprised, and
Tigertailz come out tight and rocking, looking more like post rehab punks that
Poison wannabes. Kim Hooker sings his little heart out, and the few dedicated fans
in attendance are happy with the likes of “Living Without You”, “Dirty Needles” and
“Thrill Pistol, amongst others. Hooker has a good way with the crowd in between
songs, and most likely endears the band to the part of the audience who otherwise
wouldn't have given much of a toss either way. The lack of real support becomes
sadly evident during a singalong of “Love Bomb Baby”, where about 10 people actually
know the lyrics. Despite this, the band looked and sounded pretty cool, although I'm
not expecting the current line up to set any part of the world on fire anytime soon.

(In a hilarious Spinal Tap moment (the night seems to be a bit of a tribute to the
film), a roadie comes on during the break and tapes a Y&T logo over the Tigertailz
one already on the drumkit. Various audience members piss themselves at this.)

By the time Y&T set foot on the stage the place is about three quarters full and
there's a good atmosphere. I've never been a massive fan of the band, although I'm
rather fond of the albums that I have. The selling point of them for me was always
Dave Meniketti's brilliant voice. As soon as he launches into “Open Fire” it's
apparent that his voice is just as good as it was twenty odd years ago as he
effortlessly belts the lyrics out. Just as apparent is the fact that the man
seriously knows his way around a fretboard, pulling out an awesome solo. He
graciously allows 2nd guitarist John Nymann to take the other solo, and the two of
them compliment each other perfectly. As they cruise through “Lipstick & Leather”,
“Dirty Girls” and “Mean Streak” it's quite apparent that Meniketti is having a ball,
despite playing to about 200 people on a boat in Bristol harbour.

Amongst bands of their era, it would be fair to say that Y&T were one of the better
'second division' firms, eclipsed by the likes on Bon Jovi or Whitesnake, but in all
honesty their songs stand the test of time as well as, if not better than, those of their contemporaries. The atmosphere is totally relaxed, with Meniketti even encouraging fans to make requests for songs they don't usually play. This results in about half of “Go For The Throat” and a good version of “This Time”, a song dragged out of the vaults and played for the first time on British soil. Well, on a British dock anyway. Meniketti is a great frontman, with a fantastic rapport between him and the crowd. He seems to appreciate their loyalty, whereas they in turn are ecstatic at seeing their heroes in such an intimate venue. It's wonderful to see some jaws hit the floor as Meniketti plays the instrumental “Cry For You”, a superbly intricate piece that makes you wonder why he doesn't appear at the top end of “Bestest Guitarist” polls. Mind you, he does a brilliant guitar face during the track that suggests that he is horrendously constipated.

Although only Dave and bassist Phil Kennamore remain of the original band remain, there's no doubting that tonight we saw a Y&T gig. I go home with my mind still reeling at the consummate skill and talent of Dave Meniketti, and the fact that in two hours there was never a bum note or a bad song. Seriously, if you ever get the chance this band is a must see. As I like to end on a cliché, I'll just say this: Y&T Rocked The Boat!

Y&T Setlist:

Open Fire, Hungry For Rock, Hard Times, Lipstick & Leather, Dirty Girls, Mean
Streak, Keep On Believing, Straight Through the Heart, Go For The Throat, This Time,
Hurricane, Midnight In Tokyo, Black Tiger, Cry For You, Eyes Of A Stranger, Rescue
Me, Summertime Girls, I Believe In You, Forever (encore)

Review & Photos by Alan Holloway
01 Nov 2007
(c) 2007 RockUnited.Com