Friday, 7 September 2012

Don McGlashan - 29 July 2012

First things first; through his various bands (Blam, Blam, Blam; The Front Lawn; the Muttonbirds; and solo) Don McGlashan is a great singer-songwriter. From an Australian perspective he can be probably be seen as New Zealand's answer to Paul Kelly, in that both are extraordinarily talented, both write songs that tell stories intimately related to their respective homelands, and both have probably had less successive (perhaps in part because of the last point) than they deserve. The point being, for those unfamiliar with Don McGlashan he is well worth checking out (my suggestion would be to start with the Muttonbirds excellent self-titled debut).

For some reason the Toff in Town is one of the few Melbourne venues that doesn't advertise set times. This annoys me since I'm not much of a fan of hanging round idly waiting for a show to start. This show was on a Sunday so I figured the set might start relatively early. Unfortunatly it kicked off even earlier than I'd imagined and I ended up missing the first three songs of the set. Even worse, he kicked off with three really great tunes, before playing a couple of rarer tunes. So this recording starts off a bit slow. But as soon as the beautiful Girl Make Your Own Mind Up kicks off things sparkle. McGlashan put on an amazingly warm show, happy to take virtually any request (when competing requests were made for A Thing Well Made and Miracle Sun he asked which the crowd wanted, a budding setlist writer suggested playing both with White Valiant wedged in between, which Don proceeded to do). Judicious use of loops and some sampled beats allowed him to  make use of his beautiful harmony singing as well as the euphonium that plays some of the key melodies on his trademark tunes. These were mainly used for subtle additons, but the two tracks where they featured heavily (Passenger 26 and Queen's English) were both greatly enhanced by it. Finally, it's impossible to pass over the beautiful solo version of Sean Donnelly's I Will Not Let You Down that closed the show. While the album version is wonderful, this was transcendent.

And for those who already know Don McGlashan's work and are waiting for a Muttonbirds tour - he says all it will take is for someone with a venue to fly them over (after the show he also mentioned that the Front Lawn will be playing two shows towards the end of the year, presumably both in New Zealand).

This is London (not recorded)
Ngaire (not recorded)
Don't Fight it Marsha, It's Bigger Than Both of Us (not recorded)
Bad Blood
Claude Rains
Girl Make Your Own Mind Up
Passenger 26
A Man and a Woman
The Wrong Thing
Toy Factory Fire
Radio Programmer
A Thing Well Made
White Valiant
Miracle Sun
Like this Train
The Queen's English
Dominion Rd

I Will Not Let You Down

1 comment:

  1. Just discovered this; thanks very much for posting it!