Live review: Connan Mockasin at Tut’s, 22/1/14

998147_580340965377939_1082715265_nActs of Connan Mockasin‘s ilk traditionally perform in the dark and with aloofness, instead preferring to let their music speak for itself.

So, it is against such expectations tonight how entertaining proceedings prove to be; part stand up philosopher part eccentric otherworldly shaman at times his band seem bewildered, wondering what Mockasin will do next.

With a slow start to a manic night, Mockasin fiddles around on stage a full ten minutes (ignoring shouts of hairdo in process) prior to hitting his first note.

Dressed like a monk Mockasin confesses to being “a little ill” and that the last time they visited Glasgow he and the band were something of a shambles and “expect more of the same”.

His first trick of the night is to encourage those within King Tut’s to harmonize with him at the end of aptly titled ‘Faking Jazz Together’.

Continuing in the same vein with another of Forever Dolphin Loves stand out tracks ‘Choade, My Dear’ before asking the crowd if they are “feeling shy”, which leads to ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy’ from latest LP Caramel.

A couple of “cowabungas” later Connan questions if the many native American howls heard in the audience were “local”.

Later on he challenges a crowd member to strip and “show what they got”, while following an attack on the mic questioning where all the Japanese voices on the album are tonight, Connan suggests such impressions may be a tad racist.

However, before the night becomes a riot scene Connan and co. power through an epic improv heavy version of ‘Forever Dolphin Love’, which re-engages King Tut’s attendees no end; moving from hypnotic descending guitar through to a cosmic space jam via a number of false endings, eventually seeing the track sped up with a chipmunk-like vocal end.

Following an announcement that the rest of the set would focus on new record Caramel his band watch on apparently dumbfounded as Mockasin sees fit to perform the title track while in the deep dark bowels of a Glasgow crowd.

Mockasin’s oft-treated, clarity-averse, dare I say wimpish vocals swallow syllables whole, further lending these slippery, spacious tracks their dreamlike quality with ‘I’m the Man That Will Find You’ managing to sound like nightmarish fuzzed disco track.

Shouts of one more tune are echoed back amusingly by the New Zealander with “don’t be rude” while joking deadpan that he’s done has fulfilled his contract and won’t be playing anything else.

After introducing his band Connan invites the crowd to give them names instead after which Connan provides not one more tune (the big tease) but three.

‘Roll With You’ provides a slow rnb interlude immediately before Mockasin returns to the floor of King Tut’s, beckoning everyone to sit down with him in a bizarre campfire type scene.

Reverting to a ridiculously low pitch while shouting “respect, why are you laughing” Glasgow is almost too transfixed to bother filming as he plays the final chords (almost).

Finishing the night with the epic eight-minute explosion of noise named ‘Megumi the Milway’ the singer even manages to incorporate “my voice hurts” while thanking Glasgow for their hospitality once again.

Effectively conjuring up the ghosts of psych oddballs of yesteryear, but grafted onto big guitar and synth riffs while propelled by massive, grooving rhythms and what can only be described as psych-outs Connan Mockasin is very much his own odd beast.

Most importantly, though, Connan brings songs to the table – something that’s too often overlooked by the artists in this niche of rock ’n’ roll, more concerned they are with sonic mayhem than actual substance.

But armed with well-crafted, melodic and memorable songs, interspersed between the improvised jams, Mockasin provides the whole psych-rock package and despite only a couple of albums to date, he has set the standard.

More photos

Words: Andy Quigley
Photos: Tessy Troes

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