Like last year’s Petty vs. Dylan covers benefit show, last night’s Neil Young vs. Bruce Springsteen benefit show played to a full house; a very full house, in fact. Which is a great thing, because shows like this are always a great time — I like them for the chance to see locals I might not give a chance to, otherwise, and because I’m happy to give eight bucks to good causes (last night, the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County) and the rest of my cash to Glenn for booze.
All the sets were good, and almost everybody mixed Bruce and Neil in their sets, but the absolute highlight for me was Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores, who did the only all-Bruce set of the evening — “The River”, “No Surrender” & “Mary’s Place” — and absolutely floored me with how great they were. (It was funny, because Wylie had come up in conversation just yesterday morning, on a totally different subject.) I won’t always take a chance on an unknown local’s full set, because there are only so many hours in the day to watch music, but shows like this give me a chance to see new bands on familiar territory, and Wylie and his band won my attention. They rocked the hell out of those songs, with good humor and great talent. Two thumbs way up, Mr. Hunter.
Other above & beyond highlights: Andrea of Birds & Arrows channeling her inner Bruce and absolutely slaying “Born To Run”; the Mary Johnson Rockers + Django Haskins doing a fantastic version of “Atlantic City”; the Tomahawks’ cover of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” with Jeff Crawford on lead vocals. (The last was particularly gorgeous and heartbreaking.) Only complaints? Nobody did “Thunder Road”, thus denying the Alpha Site one of their greatest pleasures, which is creeping on people using lyrics from that song; and the hipsters in the CH did not rock nearly hard enough. There were exactly four people rocking out to “No Surrender”, and three of them were me and shep. and Ash. Fail, Chapel Hill.
Behind the jump, more photos.