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      Four Men for Mencap

      Four Men for Mencap
      ZANZIBAR, JANUARY 26

      We are informed at the start of the show that in fact it would be three men for learning disability charity Mencap tonight as Pete Wylie had dropped out last minute. Disappointing, yes, but also a great opportunity for the remaining three musketeers to crack increasingly outlandish jokes about Wylie’s reasons for pulling out, all night long.


      The last men standing more than filled the gap - Ian Prowse of Pele and Amsterdam and Ian McNabb of Icicle Works joined Brian Nash of Frankie Goes to Hollywood onstage, who organised the gig in support of the Mencap charity which his daughter works for.


      A great idea, and a trilogy of Liverpool legends that the audience were more than happy to get behind wholeheartedly - at one point our gig companion commenting: “Feels like we’re crashing a family reunion”.


      First, though, we endure electro pop comedy band Stereo Electric Mistress who while valiantly foregoing pride to indulge in Dad dancing and silly lyrics, are actually probably talented enough to make serious music.


      Then again, there’s enough of that about isn’t there? For the record our favourite tune is realist love anthem, “Generally...She’s Fine”, not least because they manage to get the word ‘conundrum’ in the lyrics.


      Onto the main event, which sees our three guitar-wielding heroes sat in a row, accompanied by a very talented percussionist. They take turns in leading songs, running through classics from their respective bands, and solo songs, as well as a smattering of covers. With Prowse the classic troubadour of a heartland rock tradition, McNabb with his turn of melody and impressive guitar picking, and Nasher with his electric guitar and heartstring-pulling style; the banter is lighthearted, the love flows freely and their different sounds complement nicely.


      Icicle Works tune ‘Evangeline’ soars, Amsterdam’s ‘Does This Train Stop on Merseyside’ gets the whole crowd singing and Frankie’s ‘Power of Love’ unsurprisingly brings the house down. The trio also honor the missing Wylie by playing his tune “Heart As Big As Liverpool”, with Prowse quipping “This will be the only time it will be played in the key it was written in”. There are few dry eyes in the house by the end.


      We laughed, we cried, it was for a good cause and we were all kept warm and dry for a few precious hours on a dreary January evening. When Nasher suggests it could become an annual event, we say yes!


      www.mencap.org.uk


      JENNIFER PERKIN ||

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