Honeyslides.... it's a Neil Young thing....
This exciting band fronted by Tom Billington has successfully captured
the passion and diversity of Neil Young in an vibrant live format.
The band are privileged to perform a broad selection from the
comprehensive and limitless formats of one of Canada's living legends.
Some people decry tribute bands as
irrelevant. However, having not seen the genuine article since 1993,
when I read that a tribute to Neil Young was playing Watford, I put the
date firmly in my diary.
What a night! Despite this being only their third outing, The
Honeyslides nailed the Neil Young sound. Shakey himself would have been
impressed, had he ventured out to The Horns that Thursday night!
Some bands pride themselves on copying the image or of using the same
instruments etc. The Honeyslides eschewed all that and went for the
music. Good decision, as there was no distraction from their obvious
musical talent. The musicians put their heart and souls into their
performance, exhibiting an obvious love for Neil's work. They seemed to
be really enjoying themselves, and from the look of the punters' faces,
that feeling was infectious.
Numbers on stage varied between one and seven as the night
progressed....... vocalist, two guitarists, bassist, drummer (and for
"After The Gold Rush", a couple more singers on backing vocals).
The vocalist who joined them after a few numbers spent the whole gig
grinning, having a great time and taking the crowd along with him. The
rhythm guitarist contributed some good vocals as well as some nice
The lead guitarist did a fantastic job on both acoustic and electric,
but the icing on the cake were his banjo and harmonica playing on some
tracks - nice bit of authenticity. His vocals also deserve a mention in
dispatches. At times he seemed to have lost himself in what he was
doing. Indeed, during the interval, whilst the rest of the band had a
well-earned breather, he carried on by himself for a few tracks with all
of the foregoing underpinned by a tight rhythm section; the drummer
providing some sweet vocal harmonies and the bass player intensely
pumping out some fluid bass lines.
If you're reading this, chances are that you are a Neil Young fan and
want to know what songs you could have heard. Well, we were treated to a
selection from at least twelve of Mr Young's albums. Twenty-odd songs,
from the quiet, acoustic numbers to the raucous, electric stuff. Obvious
choices such as "Cinnamon Girl", "Ohio", "Comes a Time", "Rockin' in the
Free World" and "Powderfinger" rubbed shoulders with the less obvious -
"Homegrown", "Roll Another Number (for the road)" and "Are You Ready For
The Country?": all delivered clear enough to hear the words, whilst loud
enough to feel them!
Best tracks of the night? Difficult to say 'cos five of them got me
crying. A bitter-sweet "Old Man" from Neil's renowned "Harvest" album
had my tears flowing, as did the plaintive "Pocahontas". I was also
pleased to see Neil's overlooked, underrated and elusive "On The Beach"
album represented by "Walk On". (By the way, Shakey fans, if you haven't
yet heard this album, do yourself a favour and track it down!) For an
encore we got a blistering rendition of "Like a Hurricane", complete
with a lovely grungy guitar workout.
Summation: If you get a chance to see The Honeyslides, do yourself a
favour and INDULGE yourself. You won't regret it.