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Don McGlashan - Gig Review: Don McGlashan @ OneOneSix, Whangarei - 8/11/2023

14 Nov 2023 // A review by Hannah Jane

Back at my favourite musical venue up here in Whangarei tonight… OneOneSix is a community space beautifully set up for intimate shows suited to an attentive listening audience. If you live in Northland and haven’t been here yet, come join us!

The seating block is set up along the length of the hall this evening, which brings the crowd right in close and personal. Scott from OneOneSix is doing lights, and freelance sound-guy Jarrod is from Auckland.

The pre-show playlist gets top marks from me – Aldous Harding and Mazzy Star set the tone for a good night in my book!

Opening just after 8pm is Tom Burton from Crash Teslas - he sounds a little like The XX or Cigarettes After Sex with his ambient guitar tones. He has humorous banter in that self-deprecating kind of way.

How Could You Ever Love Me is a great song about watching television, apparently.

"I'm so tired of never being alone." - Nice lyric!

Although it was quite difficult to hear Tom at times, his lyrics were worth listening to, and his guitar got pretty thrashy for one person which was cool – punk energy.

Tom finished his set with a new potential song lyric in the form of advice "Defend yourself if street urchins attack you". Thanks for sharing!

After a short break, Don McGlashan and Anita Clark (Motte) took to the stage - running into the evening’s playlist which was a nice touch, and I was immediately struck with his warm professionalism. This guy is at ease on stage.

Within moments of greeting us, Don thanked Tom Burton earnestly, and then off they began. We were treated to gorgeous musical intros with Don’s saxophone and Anita’s violin soaring high above me. As violin always does.

Lovely harmonies and "everything is turning, gracefully we're turning, all the world is turning around".

This is now the end of the ‘Take It To The Bridge’ tour for the newly inducted New Zealand Music Hall of Fame musician… and as such he promises us twice as much tonight.

Don McGlashan is a fine storyteller, he delivers his songs lyrically, and you can hear he really cares about his words. He has a good voice, better than I expected to be truthful. Time is treating him well.

His third song, Charles Kingsford Smith, is particularly enjoyable to listen to:

"Now I don’t have anywhere to be

No-one knows I’m here, I can watch the planes appear…

Wish I could split myself in two

So, one of me could do what I'm supposed to do

And the other could fly away"

Anita Clark is exquisite on violin. 

Don shares a Tom Waits quote: "you kick a song out of its nest, and you don't know where it will fly to". He then shared the journey of his song Bathe In The River, which has gone on to have a life of its own.

Don is so expert at all of this that he can be relaxed without losing his stride. He tells us he keeps forgetting the start of second verses and looks to Anita for help... Anita responds with an elegant shrug that loosely translates to 'who wrote this?' I love this kind of repartee.

He asks us if we feel the sound is about right and uses that moment to ask "Can I please have a smidge more in the wedges Jarrod, thank you" … such a pro.

We travelled down Dominion Road to my favourite song of the night – Andy.

"Andy, don't keep your distance from me".

This song moved through the air like a beautifully crafted Irish-folk tune and hearkened back to something sweet and sad. It had me captivated, and moved, and it ended abruptly. A lot like loss.

His song Go Back In from 2022’s solo album Bright November Morning was gorgeous.

Anita switched to mandolin for a song or two which mixed things up nicely, and the audience were fully engaged and laughed when Don made lyrical jokes such as "I spilled some coffee on the rug I threw it away It had seen better days."

Don sings far back from the microphone, and his muse is right in front of him – so close it’s almost mundane, but he writes a good song out of it.

A White Valiant built to something so much bigger than its lyric. As does Nothing on the Windows.

He tells us we can heckle for songs but says he won't necessarily play it – so I call out for Anchor Me in honour of my cousin Anna who walked down the aisle to it almost 5 years ago now. He would have played it without my prompt of course, but it was worth the engagement all the same.

Don shared stories from his life and told us his father was a civil engineer and then proceeded into a shaky sax start to the next song. Unfazed, Don tells us it's a little chilly up there, and he has used hot water bottles and an electric blanket before to no avail.

Then he starts again, and it’s lovely. Anita never misses a beat, and Don has a really warm voice when he lands "Far away from the envy of angels".

Anita’s violin is sublime in this one. And throughout. If I were an angel I would envy the violin!

Don told us he had a residency in Antarctica for a while, and he bantered with the audience that he wrote about penguins up there.

His notebook of writings from that time was stolen during a house move, and only Shackleton remains. I understand that kind of loss and it’s not nothing. I am glad he has ‘Shackleton.’ Anita plays the theremin on this one which is fascinating to watch.

Tomorrow Night starts strong and violin lifts everything:

"She went to London to find work there,

To claim her colonial birth right."

Such a well-written and beautifully delivered offering to the world.

The last two songs of the evening were crowd participation tunes which the audience loved. Afterwards Don warmly thanked Jarrod and Scott for their wonderful work, and Kait for giving them such a lovely welcome to OneOneSix.

And then they left.

Then everyone cheered and stomped their feet and demanded more…

And Don came back. Encores are a such a strange etiquette!

Don and Anita treated us to two more songs, ending with the ageless Anchor Me which was divine.

Every song this evening is another lovely blend of sounds, and banter - lovely light banter. Don McGlashan is a consummate professional who has tuned his craft to a fine art which is an absolute pleasure to witness!

Thank you for coming up north to us Don, and welcome back anytime!!!


About Don McGlashan

Don McGlashan is one of New Zealand’s best known and highly regarded songwriters.

Don was a member of Philip Dadson’s From Scratch music/performance art group from 1979-86. The group performed worldwide and Don helped record three albums while a member.

In 1980, with guitarist Mark Bell and bassist Tim Mahon, he formed Auckland band Blam Blam Blam. His song Don't Fight It, Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both of Us was named 'Song of the Year' in the 1982 New Zealand Recording Industry Awards.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Don McGlashan


Bright November Morning
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Lucky Stars
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Marvellous Year
Year: 2009
Type: Album
Warm Hand
Year: 2006
Type: Album
An Angel At My Table OST
Year: 1991
Type: Album

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