Don McGlashan & Shayne Carter
13 October 2016
Tonight's musical outing was an experienced pair of frontmen teaming up together on stage for the first time. Don McGlashan (Blam Blam Blam, Front Lawn, Mutton Birds) and Shayne Carter (Straitjacket Fits, Dimmer, Adults) have both moved into solo work in recent years, but decided to tour together as a two-man show. The structural conceit is that each selects the songs from the other's back catalogue for the two to play, so Carter chooses McGlashan's and vice versa. This is an interesting notion and meant that several of the songs selected had never been performed live. For dedicated fans this would be an intriguing prospect, and personally it was tremendous to hear McGlashan perform Envy of Angels and White Valiant, as selected by Carter.
However, the downfall of the experiment was that McGlashan's songbook has plenty of more crowd-pleasing material that would have enabled them to mach shau, as the Beatles were ordered in the Kaiserkeller. Carter generally avoided 'the hits' and favoured the more esoteric, experimental side of McGlashan's material. Still, this meant we were able to listen to the classic Don't Fight It Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both Of Us from the Blams. The tunes alternated between McGlashan's melodic and keenly observational pop songs, and Carter's buzzing, Velvets-influenced indie chords. I'm less familiar with Carter's work, particularly outside the Fits, so I was hearing many of the songs for the first time. Mostly they impressed, even in the two-piece arrangements. There was also a low-key, easy stage banter from Carter in particular, which was welcome. A good night out for fans of New Zealand music.