On the 6th May 2016, ten years to the day since he died, the Bush Hall hosted a fantastic night in tribute to the late Go Between, Grant McLennan. Featuring sets from the Left Outsides, Bill Botting and the 2 drink Minimums, the Wolfhounds (2 of them), the Wave Pictures, Pete Astor and band and Gerry Love for Teenage Fanclub with some friends in a great band put together for the night. The whole night was MC-ed by Stewart Lee who admitted the problem of doing standup at a rock and roll gig, doubly compounded by the fact of commemorating someone he clearly admired and whose music he loved.
He did a great job and who knew he’d had a hand in writing one of the greatest songs of all time? He closed the night with a great story about how he persuaded Grant to change the lyrics of Cattle and Cane for the better and switch to acoustic from punky electric to fit the mood of the song. Sadly, he was let down by a lack of thanks on the sleeve when Before Hollywood actually came out.
It’s hard to pick highlights from the music. The award for most obscure cover goes to the Left Outsides who gave us the Civil War Lament from a Jack Frost album. Stewart Lee threatened to top this later with the Tuff Monks single B side. Each band manage to channel the spirit of the Go Betweens and there were a couple of Robert Forster covers too so that it was almost like an evening with them during the eighties. Certainly, Bill Botting and the 2 Drink Minimums took me back to the Boston Arms in the mid-eighties in Tufnell Park. That night the Go Betweens had played many of the songs that ended up on arguably their finest album, Libery Belle and the Black Diamond Express, including Apology Accepted, performed at Shepherds Bush by Bill and members of his family (and watched by them too!). A great version. In the Boston Arms Robert and Grant were on fine form having just been dropped by Sire Records (one of many typical such happenings to them) but then taken up by Beggars Banquet. That night they gave us a stirring Bow Down and a magnificent Twin Layers of Lightning and encored with Jimmy Osmond’s Knock on Your Door…At the Bush Hall last night the Wave Pictures played a spellbinding set, including 8 pictures with epic drumming from Johnny. David Tattersall is such a great guitar player and he introduced some Wave P magic to Magic in Here. They conlcued with a raucous version of Karen, again reminding me of a night in the Town and Country Club when the original Go Betweens tore it up with an encore of epic proportions. Some people assoicate them with quiet acoustic numbers but Lindy, as well as being a senstive player, was a ferocious drummer on occasion and they weren’t above improvising and stretching out the song about the librarian! Anyway, respect to the Wave Pictures who are clearly big fans. David’s own song about childhood, Before This Day, is at least the equal of the great Cattle and Cane for that mix of childhood moments and reflection!
All the bands were great (I loved the Wolfhounds belting through Unkind and Unwise; Pete Astor and friends doing Boundary Rider) but so that this doesn’t turn into a biblically long post I should just finish by mentioning Gerry Love and his friends who closed the whole thing beautifully with a joyous East Come Easy Go/ Mrs Morgan / Going Blind and an epic Bye Bye Pride. As Gerry said from the stage, “Let’s hear it for the great man…”
Thanks to all the bands and Stewart Lee for their efforts in putting this together. And to the Bush Hall, a beautiful venue.