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by Al Williams

It was a small and intimate venue, in the middle of nowhere, for two of New Zealand’s musical heavyweights.
The gig was at short notice, in a shed with enough room for about four cars.
Staveley – inland from Ashburton – the home of Topp Lodge, which is a getaway for Topp Twin Lynda Topp and a burgeoning venue for live music.
Lynda’s sister, Jools, is forthcoming about the venue, telling me it is low key, with a number of small gigs organised at short notice.

In song ...Don McGlashan gives an emotional performance
In song …Don McGlashan gives an emotional performance

About 40 people turned up on Friday for an evening of music with Shayne Carter and Don McGlashan.
Despite weaving disparate paths over the past few decades, eminent songwriters McGlashan and Carter have recently taken their developed team show of songs on tour around the country.
The combination was launched following an Auckland Arts Festival project in which the pair were challenged to choose a selection and perform each others’ compositions.
Having cut his teeth with bands Blam Blam Blam, the Front Lawn and the Mutton Birds, McGlashan has a penchant for reflecting the landscape and people of this country in his songs.

Concentration...Shayne Carter focuses on his vocal performance.
Concentration…Shayne Carter focuses on his vocal performance.

Carter, more rock’n’roll in his approach, starting out writing songs as a Dunedin teenager on one string of the guitar, and earned accolades and fans as the force behind Bored Games and the DoubleHappys.
Carter’s involvement in the Straitjacket Fits through the 1980s and early ’90s cemented his status as one of New Zealand’s key songwriters.
It was not so much of a reunion show, nor a nostalgia trip on Friday evening, but more of an adventurous wander down the dusty alleys of their musical inventories.
The pair have recorded their set live at an Auckland studio and will release it this week.