Y&T / RON KEEL (Live)

at Eck’s Saloon, Lakewood, CO, USA, April 28, 2006

It’s a Friday night in Denver, Colorado. The creatures of the night have made their way to Eck’s Saloon to drink deep the libations and the Rock ‘N’ Roll. With a headlining bill of Y&T with special guest Ron Keel, there has been a buzz around town for the past couple of weeks. Y&T haven’t been in these parts for 15 years or more. Now with the re-release of their remastered Black Tiger and Mean Streak records, there was much ado about their triumphant return.

Kicking off the gig at an unthinkably early hour was local Metal sensations Bodragaz. Hot off of their opening stint for the sold out Bon Jovi show, it isn’t hard to understand why they have been getting so many hot gigs as of late. Playing a mix of Melodic Metal and Prog-Rock, the twin guitar and heavy synth sound made the small venue swell with stadium bigness. Excellent drumming and some cool vocal melodies and harmonies accentuated the performance. Delving into their latest self-released disc, Clear, these guys made nice work of their minimal allotted time.

Next up was another local band, Drug Under, which is front man Chris Romero’s new project. Romero formerly fronted Sick, who had started making a name for themselves in the late 90’s, but suddenly dropped off the planet. It is good to see Romero back in action and this time taking center stage with a much tighter ensemble. Dug Under is a five piece, twin guitar attack, straight-up Rock band. Strong “radio friendly” melodies with some three-chord crunch promise to keep Drug Under landing the good gigs for a while. Headshop took the stage third and hit the audience with a nonstop, thick, bass-driven set, which was borderline Hardcore. The band looked like hippies who had gone to that Dark Side. There wasn’t a lot of melody, but the band played with conviction and the crowd seemed to enjoy them.

Next up was the real surprise of the night. Formerly of the bands Steeler, Keel, Fair Game, and Iron Horse, to name a few, was a familiar face who hadn’t rocked this town in some time: Ron Keel. Supporting his latest release, Alone At Last, Ron has taken his solo artist act to the extreme, armed only with an acoustic guitar and his voice. As Ron noted, he was in an uncertain spot, being sandwiched between three hungry up-and-coming bands, and Y&T; naked, so to speak. Once he released that trademark bellow of his, the audience was his. Keel took the crowd on a journey through his entire career, going back to the Steeler days, and even covering the Country years. He peppered the night with cover songs, much as he has his entire career, playing Springsteen’s “Because the Night” and Bad Company’s “Shooting Star.” But the real show stealer was his medley ending of Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” and Keel’s “The Right to Rock.” The acoustic showcase of Ron Keel is not to be missed. Ron has always had a lyrical simplicity to his writing, which, when backed by thundering drums and a cacophony of guitars, may come across as somewhat campy. But, hearing the songs presented so raw, they sounded fresh, simple, and honest… and performed with a lot of heart.

Headliners Y&T wasted no time getting to the heart of things, and opened the show with “Mean Streak,” the title track to their legendary 1983 release. Original members Dave Meniketti, Phil Keenemore, and Leonard Haze have regrouped and recruited longtime friend John Nymann on guitar. Thirty years after the release of the self-titled Yesterday & Today album, the band haven’t lost any of the Raunch ‘N’ Roll that they started with originally.

Meniketti sounds as good as he ever did vocally, and is even better on guitar, getting a thick-and-meaty Blues tone from his Mesa-Boogie. Phil is still smiling after all these years, holding tight with Haze’s drumming. Nymann made his presence known, laying down some solid leads. Complimenting Meniketti’s Bluesy style brilliantly, he proved he wasn’t there to just fatten things up with some rhythm. “Lipstick And Leather,” “Black Tiger,” “Hungry for Rock,” and “Winds of Change”… the hits just kept on coming; this band could play all night with the tremendous amount of great songs they have in their arsenal. After thirty years of Rock ‘N’ Roll, the smiles on their faces still tell the story; one part audience reaction and three parts loving what they do, Y&T are four musicians who have had the fortune to create magic for decades, night after night. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t just a reunion show cashing in on a name. This is a heavy dose of real Rock with songs that have stood the test of time and sound every bit as powerful today as… well, yesterday!


  • Jeremy Juliano

    Jeremy was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He's been involved with and has been following the Metal scene since the early 1980’s. He started out his Metal journey with heavy doses of Maiden, Accept, and Saxon. And in recent years, he has enjoyed the new age of Metal with bands like Hammerfall, Edguy, and Nightwish, to name a few.

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