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Dave Henderson and his band, The Ace Café, Stonebridge Park, London, May 15th 2010

May 17, 2010

The Neil Young Appreciation Society has been around since 1981 and I joined shortly after that. The Rust List and the online news and views on Thrasher’s Wheat may have supplanted it for up-to-dateness, but the NYAS’s quarterly magazine Broken Arrow is still the only place you’ll read in-depth features about all aspects of Shakey’s music. The Editor was down in London and met up with The Suit, the Browne Bluesman and me to check out Neil-nut and musician Dave Henderson’s two sets of Neil Young covers at the Ace Café on London’s North Circular Road.

The Ace Café is a venerable mecca for petrolheads of a certain vintage, and although the place is clearly meant for ‘rockers’, they sell merch for ‘mods’ too, which seems strange. Maybe after 45 years the warring teenage tribes have declared a truce, realising that their similarities have always been greater than their differences.

The café is unusual in having a full licence – not that I was complaining, but it feels slightly strange drinking a pint of Flower’s at a melamine caff table, staring at the vinegar and ketchup. Dave did an early evening acoustic set, kicking off with well-crafted versions of Old Man and Good To See You, and was then accompanied by sympathetic bass and drums on fine renditions of Out On The Weekend, Buffalo Springfield Again (which had a nice funky feel to it) and Harvest Moon. I was tempted to ask the café’s cleaner for a broom to do the Larry Cragg part on Harvest Moon, but I’m frankly under-rehearsed in the cleaning-implement-playing department…

We then had a break of nearly three hours before Dave’s electric set, so we carried on supping the Flower’s while various bands – good, bad and indifferent – played on. Dave came back with the band for the last hour and launched into Cinnamon Girl and Southern Man – the latter featuring some good solos, soulful and Neilish. Dave’s voice is at times uncannily like Neil’s and you can forgive him the occasional lyrics flub – hey, Neil often forgets his own words, so maybe it’s more authentic to be less than precise.

The hits then came fast and furious – Cortez The Killer, Ohio, Powderfinger, an excellent smokin’ Change Your Mind and finally Like A Hurricane, complete with more fine solos. The mods never showed up, so we rocked happily into the night. Here’s a video of Dave and the boys performing Southern Man last year:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2010 4:02 pm

    Hey BNG!

    Thanks for the shoutout! Sounds like a great time with all the regular suspects.

    Well, off to see Neil on Friday in Worcester!

    Keep on rockin’!

  2. brandnewguy permalink*
    May 19, 2010 4:08 pm

    Have a great time, Thrasher. I’ve had a quick listen to RustRadio, but I need some time to digest all those new songs. Exciting days!

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