LIVE REVIEW: Connan Mockasin at REC (14/01/2017)
As a long time fan of Connan Mockasin, the announcement that the man himself was gracing Auckland with a series of shows was like a fucking dream come true. Opening act Pablo Vasquez’s intimate flamenco-esque guitar instrumentals were appropriate for the atmosphere and REC was full to the brim when Connan finally took to the stage with bandmates Rory McCarthy (guitar/keys), Nick Harsant (bass) and Matt Eccles (drums).
If I could sum up Connan Mockasin in three words I would say he is an enigmatic, quirky sex-god. He emerged dressed in stripy metallic loose cord pants held precariously up by suspenders with a black cloak, the latter soon abandoned at the request of the audience.
Connan’s stage personality is wondrously bizarre.
Starting off teasingly soft-spoken, Connan’s engagement with the crowd
increased with his wine intake, whipping out eccentric yet checked dance moves
and asking the crowd to sing along.
The Man…the Mystery…
Mockasin’s skill with the guitar is magical, almost delicately teasing the sound out of his guitar. His playing manner was so fluid and effortless it could almost be mistaken for inattentiveness, but given the precise and expansive sound he conjures its pretty obvious he just must be a wizard. Vocally, Connan was incredible and his nasal vocals never sounded dry.
The setlist covered all the essentials, including Faking Jazz Together, Its Your Body, Do I Make You Feel Shy, It’s Choade My Dear, Caramel, I’m The Man, That Will Find you. Connan also threw a couple of new songs in the mix that are set to feature on his upcoming album which is due out in the next couple of years.
Each song was recreated to perfection, sounding better than live versions of the songs found online. Hats off to REC because whoever managed the technical and sound desk side of things deserves high praise. The sound was textured and flawless, finely tuned to allow each instrument to individually shine yet sound cohesive.
Perhaps one of the strengths of the show was the clear synergy between all the members of the band. All the guys were in sync, in both music and banter. McCarthy (keyboard/guitarist) amusingly confessed that he had struggled a little to play that night due to a food baby that was the result of visiting a delicious restaurant, and thanked the audience for their support. Harsant embodied the deadpan bass player with his face blank and shoulders upright, all his energy directed into an expressive and dynamic bass line. With a solid performance throughout the set Eccles (drums) truly came to life at the end, smashing out the encore with an impassioned fervor.
dad bods ftw
One thing I did find puzzling was the overly chill atmosphere. Except for a couple of drunken show goers the audience was pretty tame, definitely the opposite to what I expected. At the end however, an encore was intensely demanded and Mockasin delicately crowd surfed before touching down on stage and exiting for the last time.
Connan has been a personal favourite of mine for some time and his show did not disappoint.
If he ever comes again: sign me up.