Unheralded Bay Area hard rock icons, Y&T returned to Boise Tuesday night for their second trip in two years. Frontman Dave Meniketti swears the Treasure Valley is now going to be an annual stop. The Knitting Factory crowd numbered about 450, though they sounded twice as loud as their number: Certainly not a bad turnout for a rainy Tuesday night. Those that didn’t make the trek missed out on another stunning two-hour-plus performance of non-stop, adrenaline-fueled rock and roll.
Local favorites, Ghostbox kicked off the evening, delivering perhaps the best set I’ve seen them perform. The band sounds like it has retooled itself a bit, and two members of the crowd that I spoke with after agreed that Ghostbox shone brightly on this night delivering a set that included the songs; “Sun and the Snow,” “Unburied Corpses,” “Eleven,” “Another Day,” “Not of the Light,” and perhaps my personal favorite, “Astara.” The vocal harmonies between guitarists Jason Whitley and Ali Soto reminded me a bit of classic Alice in Chains. and the rhythm section of drummer Ryan Anderson and bassist Steve Bade had a perfect blend of precision and groove.
Y&T hit the stage promptly at 9 P.M. to the strains of “From the Moon” and diving right in with the hits “Lipstick and Leather,” “Don’t Stop Runnin’,” and “Hurricane.” The 20-song set was weighted heavily with tracks from the band’s big 4 albums; Earthshaker, Black Tiger, Meanstreak, and In Rock We Trust, all released between 1981 and 1984. They also performed two tracks, “Shine On,” and the main set closer, “I’m Coming Home,” from 2010’s brilliant return to form, Facemelter. They turned the title track from 1987’s Contagious into a full out jam, concluding with a thundering drum solo from Mike Vanderhule. Meniketti handled much of the soling for the night, but occasionally opened the door for John Nymann to show off his own dynamic fleet-fingered fretwork throughout the set as well. The duo played off one another on the bluesy romp, “Dirty Girl.” The Tuesday night show marked the debut Boise appearance for new bassist Aaron Leigh, who joined the Y&T family last spring.
Every member of Y&T has an amazing singing voice, and the band’s multi-part harmonies were dazzling all night long as they dug out deeper cuts like “I’ll Keep on Believin’ (Do You Know),” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark:” The latter from the band’s 1990 album, Ten.
Y&T also paid tribute to their fallen brothers on “Winds of Change,” remembering original members Phil Kennemore, Joey Alves, and Leonard Hayes; the latter two of which passed away over the last year, along with longtime sound man, Tom Size.
Other highlights of the set included classics like; “Midnight in Tokyo,” “Meanstreak,” “Hang “Em High” (Thank you, Dave), and “Black Tiger.” They blew past the 11PM curfew with a three-song encore of “Open Fire,” “Rescue Me,” and “Forever.” The full setlist can be viewed here.
I’ve been watching Y&T live for four decades, and I have never experienced a show that was less than stellar. This one proved no different. The guys hung around afterward signing autographs and taking photos with fans as they always do. Y&T is a true rock and roll band that recognizes the importance and power of their fans, and always treat them with respect and gratitude. When they return next year, The Knit should be packed to the rafters.
As Hansi Hilmer of the Idaho Death Militia offered, “This is what a rock and roll show is supposed to be; all about the music, and no political bullshit.”
I would be remiss not to point out that The Knitting Factory keeps tweaking its sound, and it just keeps getting more powerful and dialed in. I don’t believe there is any better venue in town at this point for live music. As always, a huge thanks and horns up to Gary Pike and the amazing Knit staff for all their exceptional hard work.
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All photos © 2017 Katarzyna Cepek Photography