'Silver lining of lockdown': Blockheads saxophonist brings Muswell Hill cheer

Dave Lewis performing in Coniston Road

Dave Lewis performing in Coniston Road - Credit: Dave Lewis

A Muswell Hill saxophonist has been treating neighbours to a street concert every Thursday evening for over a year. 

The idea came when Dave Lewis’ wife suggested he played Lean On Me after the NHS clap for carers to commemorate Bill Withers’ death in the first lockdown. 

Coniston Road residents asked the 60-year-old, who plays with The Blockheads, whether he could play again the following week.  

“I ended up going out every Thursday to play two songs, come rain or shine," Dave told the Ham&High.  

“It’s been amazing. I’ve ended up meeting loads of my neighbours who have been on the street for years but who I’ve never properly met. 

Out on the street

Out on the street - Credit: Shruti Desai

“I’m really looking forward to restrictions being lifted. We’re going to organise a street party to celebrate. 

“There is a little toddler called William who watches me. At the start of lockdown, he used to just wave but now he’s learned to speak, so he will say ‘hi Dave’ and ‘bravo’. It’s incredibly heart-warming.” 

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Dave is a professional saxophonist and has played since he was 16. He has his own band, Dave Lewis' 1Up, as well as a jazz quartet, DLQ. Dave also plays with The Blockheads. 

“The pandemic has been catastrophic for a lot of musicians. I’ve probably done about a week’s worth of gigs in the whole year," Dave said.  

Playing during the evening

Playing during the evening - Credit: Shruti Desai

Coniston Road enjoyed a special concert on Easter Monday. Actor and West End performer John Conroy, who lives a few doors up from Dave, led the singing as his neighbour played Easter songs 

“It’s an opportunity for me to share my music,” Dave said. “It’s been a silver lining of lockdown.” 

Dave said he wasn't sure whether he would carry on the performances once lockdown is fully lifted.

“It might just be something for that time," he said.  

Muswell Hill resident Shruti Desai described the street shows as "boosting our spirits and keeping Dave’s fingers warm", bringing "a lot of joy and uniting the street".  

You can hear Dave Lewis play with his jazz quartet DLQ via livestream from the 606 Club on May 1. Book tickets via www.606club.co.uk

Not to be deterred by the weather

Not to be deterred by the weather - Credit: Dave Lewis