The Auckland Arts Festival is always up for marriages of convenience when it comes to adding local pop and rock to its programme. In this case it was turn of long-time luminaries Don McGlashan and Shayne Carter to get hitched underneath the canvas of the Spiegeltent.

Their musical paths might never have crossed before and their respective sensibilities would seem disparate. But that also helped make this show neatly unpredictable.

Yes, we did get songs from the good old days of Blam, Blam Blam, the Front Lawn, the Mutton Birds (McGlashan's former bands) or Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer (Carter's).

But the two men chose the overlooked gems in each others' musical histories and played them with two guitars (Carter on electric, McGlashan acoustic) and occasional drums and organ. Which in some cases - like the Front Lawn's Theme from the Lounge Bar - weren't too far from the original.

But in others, the interpretations offered plenty of minimalist rock thrills. Especially a surging take on the Straitjacket Fits' Cast Stone late in the piece which was a fiery combo of Carter's voice, electric guitar and McGlashan's acoustic accompaniment.

Other highlights were the hypnotic spells cast by both of McGlashan's Envy of Angels and Seed from Carter's Dimmer days.


Midway through the good-humoured show McGlashan announced they were thinking of turning this one-off festival affair into a tour. Which sounds like a fine idea.

The marriage of convenience worked out nicely. A honeymoon can only improve on the idea