4 Men 4 Mencap: Brian Nash, Ian McNabb and Ian Prowse: The Zanzibar, Liverpool


Nash, McNabb and Prowse deliver an impassioned set from their own back catalogues and curveballs from Prince to Porno For Pyros, Getintothis’ Alan O’Hare joins an enraptured Zanzibar in saluting the three musketeers.

And then there were three…
Brian Nash, Ian McNabb and Ian Prowse took to The Zanzibar stage last weekend under the banner of ‘4 Men 4 Mencap‘.
Mighty Wah! Pete Wylie pulled out for personal reasons late on, so it was left to the three musketeers to deliver a Scouse night of all for one and one for all.
And deliver they did. Say what you will about charity gigs, this was a cracker. Once people handed over their money at the door, and heard a brief speech from Mencap Liverpool, this night was all about the music.
The acoustic guitar-wielding troubadours took it in turns to perform a song of their own, accompanied by the other two and percussionist Grant Walker, and then collaborated on some choice covers.
Ian Prowse, Ian McNabb and Brian Nash at the Zanzibar
Ex-Frankie Goes to Hollywood guitarist Nash was the brains behind the gig and must take the credit for a format that worked like a dream.
Strummer Prowse kicked the night off with a fast and furious version of his old band Pele‘s Raid the Palace and the energy didn’t dip throughout.
Sure, there were more reflective moments from balladeer McNabb, who surprised us all with a dream-like take on 70s classic They Shoot Horses Don’t They. But the songs came quicker than Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
Nasher treated the sold out club to a couple of his lesser known solo songs and Don’t Go Yet was a particular highlight. Prowse made sure we heard a Pete Wylie tune and delivered his tear-jerking take on Heart as Big as Liverpool, reprising the more deliberate version he first performed live at The Irish Sea Sessions and again for last year’s Hillsborough vigil at St George’s Hall.
Ian Prowse, Ian McNabb and Brian Nash at the Zanzibar
Other covers included The Clash‘s London Calling, Porno For PyrosPets (!) and a lovely sing-a-long of Ticket To Ride.
McNabb and Prowse then brought it all back home to the delight of the partisan crowd and treated us to stripped down takes of Liverpool Girl and Does This Train Stop On Merseyside?, before Nasher nearly stole the show with a majestic rendition of his old band’s The Power Of Love.
It doesn’t get much better than hearing a classic number one single belted out by a man who played on it in a packed little club!
But get better the gig did, as the three headliners harmonised beautifully on set closer The Cross and hushed everyone with a great version of Prince‘s mid-80s spiritual.
It was the perfect way to end a night full of fervour.
Photographs by GetintothisJohn Johnson.