On 25th September, contributor Tom Clarke lent his ear to the new boy of psychedelic odd ball pop.
This is the first night of Mockasin’s tour and it’s ramshackle, hilarious and utterly brilliant. It’s also his first headline tour ever, something that Connan marks out to the audience; “this is different, you’re listening to me”. Pretentions and hierarchies are thrown out the window when he asks if he can lower his mic stand off the stage and sing from within the crowd. His humbleness in front of the audience and the fact that he bridges the gap between them and himself, may give the impressions of shyness or a lack of confidence but these would be completely misplaced. Connan Mockasin does exactly what he wants and knows exactly what he is doing and as he glides through the nine song set that includes eight of the ten songs featured on his most recent album, ‘Please Turn Me into a Snat’. There is a wild energy running between him and his two band mates, who hang on his every movement, looking for indications and directions, when to change, when to speed up. Connan is obviously in charge and these songs have no set in stone layout. Connan Mockasin’s band is usually a five piece but tonight the missing band members are made up for by Mockasin by way of the crowd who he has singing and clapping at particular times to fit the songs and in effect produce a fourth or fifth instrument.
Whilst very much in the moment at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut tonight, Mockasin is just as much in the fantasy world of mythical creatures that he sings about. He’s a little fairy, a psychedelic jack in the box and at the same time, an improvisational guitar genius. He wanders off into corners of the room and moves from the stage, down to his microphone stand in the crowd and back again, sometimes forgetting the absence of a stand on stage as he goes to play guitar with his band mates, microphone in hand and is therefore left with the dilemma of either singing or playing guitar and somehow manages to do both without any disruption to the vibe of the music.
‘Faking Jazz Together’ and ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ are clear highlights of the show despite the fact that halfway through the latter, Mockasin’s drummer misses a beat and stops the whole song asking to “start that section again”. That’s all right though, the audience are loving it. Tonight there are no judges and Connan is as much in stitches as the whole of the venue are. From now on, the hilarity of the night has been established and carries on throughout the show. Another level of dialogue has opened up between the band and the audience and Connan takes this opportunity to move his microphone stand deeper into the crowd. The peak of the night’s quirk comes when, in the last song, a new “demo” called ‘I Wanna Roll With You’. Connan who so far has been so careful with his cables whilst transferring himself from stage to crowd, whips up his guitar cable in an effort to dodge his wine glass and instead catches it, causing it to fly across the stage and shatter in front of the drum kit. The guitar stops and Mockasin takes a minute to relish in his own calamity. The band members are wetting themselves and the crowd revel in it just as much. This seems more a gathering of friends with music than the typical concert.
On Itunes, ‘Please Turn Me Into The Snat’ is listed as Alternative and Punk and though Mockasin’s dream songs are about as far from the sex pistols as you can get, the music is punk. It’s punk in the sense that Mockasin does whatever he wants. No two shows will ever be the same with the man because he lives in the moment, all songs and all parts are subject to change and with each concert, each new venue, each new crowd, the possibilities of performance open up a new chance for Connan to exercise his eccentricity and brilliance in a new light.
Look out for a feature on the wild life and career of Connan Mockasin in GUM’s first issue of the new academic year! Coming soon….