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Connan Mockasin played Mercury Lounge and Glasslands (pics from Glasslands w/ Arp)

photos by P Squared Media; words by Bill Pearis

Connan Mockasin @ Glasslands, 1/10/2014
connan mockasin

“If any of you out there write for blogs, please take it easy on us tonight,” Connan Mockasin asked the crowd at Glasslands on Friday night (2/10), the second date/NYC show of his first North American tour. The mixing desk had gone belly up early in the night and had to be replaced, causing the show to run late with untested sonics. The New Zealand singer needn’t have worried — his many charms quickly won over the crowd and made for one of the most fun shows I’ve been to in a long time. I definitely haven’t smiled that much in a while.

Dressed in a white robe as he was at Mexican Summer Five back in October, platinum blonde Mockasin looked like an extra from Logan’s Run and while he’s certainly a little eccentric, he’s not what I’d call weird. But he’s very funny. Despite saying he wasn’t going to talk as much between songs, he kept the audience in stitches most of the time, and led the crowd through sing-alongs of his Barry White-esque “I Wanna Roll with You” (complete with pitch-shifted vocals); at one point tried to get the crowd to couple-up and slow dance (not many did); and wandered amongst the crowd for the final number while his band wondered where he was (“Fellas! I’m over here!”).

Connan’s new album Caramel hasn’t clicked with me the way 2010’s Forever Dolphin Love did and I think part of that is the production because the material came off much better live. This is in no small part thanks to an adept live band — featuring an especially lithe rhythm section — that really made his underwater funk concoctions pop. Mockasin is no slouch musician either, and is as much of a tremolo master as Kevin Shields, though in a completely different style, making it sound like someone was slowing down or speeding up the tape. It is a very trippy effect. My only complaint is he didn’t get to play longer. Next time.

His current tour concludes this week with West Coast shows. Go see him if he plays a city near you. I missed most of Arp‘s set, unfortunately, but pictures from their set — and more of Connan’s — are in this post. More below…

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