Warhol-haired, Kiwi musician and singer Connan Mockasin may be a slight figure, but he’s quite a formidable presence.
Opening song It’s Your Body envelopes the place with a sound that is a heady cocktail of Pink Floyd and Prince (if the latter were singing inside a fishtank), replete with woozy, whirly guitar effects. This segues into some spooky chanting, amid hazy pyschedelia and groovy bass.
Do I Make You Feel Shy? he sings to us. If I’m honest, Connan, you do a bit. This is a pretty big show for Mockasin and his band, and the audience are a mixture of still appreciation and excitable squealing. New album Caramel appears to contain added layers of funk , and there seems to be more emphasis on melody on than on the rather more trippy (and much loved) debut Forever Dolphin Love.
His on stage persona veers from awkwardly overwhelmed to seasoned entertainer. When he does interact with the crowd he is mischievous. “I’ll take my shirt off if you take yours off” in response to someone down the front. But of course he doesn’t, that would be far too obvious.
Instead, his antics include mock-slapping a female band mate who proceeds to weep and whimper in perfect rhythm to the music in Why Are You Crying.
During the encore, on I Wanna Roll With You he sings using a vocal effect that makes him sound like Barry White, he serenades a woman who is sitting on stage wrapped in a duvet. It’s both unsettling and dreamy all at once. He ends with a fast version of Forever Dolphin Love, before bidding us farewell.
Mockasin is an esoteric showman, making the kind of mind-melting sounds that bring some much needed colour to a rain-soaked night.by