25 years ago this spring, Tyketto’s sophomore album ‘Strength In Numbers’ got a belated release after they were dropped by Geffen Records in the wake of the maelstrom that was the rise of grunge. Out of this difficult birth however came an affinity with the UK which has lasted to this day, with a British label Music for Nations picking up the album and a couple of well received UK tours I still recall fondly.
So it was appropriate that that one of their regular jaunts to the UK saw that album being played in full. There are various ways to approach that task and indeed when the band previously played their debut ‘Don’t Come Easy’, they did so in reverse order, but this time in front of a healthy Academy crowd albeit perhaps a tad smaller than on their last visit here two years ago, they mixed it up.
They opened with perhaps one of the lesser played songs ‘Inherit The Wind’, but drummer Michael Clayton Arbeeny drove it on with an almost Zeppelin-esque intensity, not least as it pounded to an ‘Immigrant Song’-like climax.
Two of the numbers that have been regulars in Tyketto or Danny Vaughn sets ever since ‘Meet Me In the Night’ and ‘Catch My Fall’ featured early in the set and were top class as usual, with Danny showing he is one of the best live singers with his standards never faltering, though I felt the crowd could have been more animated.
However they were sandwiched by ‘All Over Me’, with Danny playing harmonica and my gig companion making comparisons to Extreme, which was a reminder that the album, unlike its predecessor, had the odd filler.
In addition to the album we even got a rare B side in ‘Wait Forever’, an impressive straight ahead rocker even if perhaps too similar to ‘Walk On Fire’ from the debut, before an even bigger surprise as they briefly departed from the ‘SiN’ set.
They brought one the three Kane sisters, Stacey, Chez and Stephanie – whose eponymous band Kane’d had been a highly impressive support – and their singing (in a much lighter style than their own band) and Ged Rylands’ piano reimagined the classic ‘Wings’ with a slower, almost jazzy swing. This had first been performed at a special fans show last year in Wales and there was an edge to Danny’s joke that Thunder had lifted the concept.
The gig was an opportunity to apply the perspective of hindsight to the album, and to realise that it saw them testing out a diverse set of new directions after their universally lauded debut. So it was intresting to hear Danny say how ‘Ain’t That Love’ was an attempt to vocally emulate Steve Marriott while ‘Why Do You Cry’ foresaw the bluesy direction he was to take on his next project in Flesh And Blood.
Danny’s influences shone through on some great rootsy songwriting such as ‘End Of The Summer Days’, one of my favourite Tyketto songs, and ‘Write Your Name In The Sky’, both with excellent harmonies from Ged and bassist Greg Smith.
While interesting, such songs were doing the pace of the set no favours so it was with relief that the two best known straight ahead rockers, ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Strength In Numbers’ followed before Danny urged us to go crazy for one final song which was what I think of as the melodic rock national anthem in ‘Forever Young’. To me the impact of the song was all the better for not anticipating it at all for once.
There was a nice touch for the encore as Danny introduced each of the musicians as they came individually onto stage, finishing with Michael, the only other survivor from those original days, and it emerged that he was just as compelling and amusing a raconteur. ‘The Last Sunset’ was the final ‘Strength In Numbers’ song but in a nice twist the title track from last album ‘Reach’ not only took us right back to the present, but was a complete shift of gear and allowed guitarist Chris Green to start shredding.
There was one final song and though it might be counter-intuitive to end on a ballad, ‘Standing Alone’ was entirely appropriate, since not only was it a bonus track in remixed form on the album but as Danny mentioned, it remains the one song Tyketto fans most identify with.
It was another top class Tyketto gig, but one with a difference. a fascinating evening reliving and revisiting an album that has a mite unfairly lived in the shadow of its classic predecessor.
Review and photos by Andy Nathan
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