Connan Mockasin, gig review: 'Psychedelia comes wreathed in dry-ice cool'

Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Chris Mugan
Wednesday 29 January 2014 12:34

With his 10-minute epic about a man-cetacean relationship and a number that starts with crooning under a blanket, this Kiwi-raised, Manchester-based artist brings the weird back to a genre that has gained newfound vitality while lacking progression. With Toy and Tame Impala, psychedelia has come wreathed in dry-ice cool with less dedication to exploring inner space.

Connan Mockasin has been on just such a quest since 2010 debut album Forever Dolphin Love, though last year's follow-up Caramel brings a lustful sensuality to his patiently evolving excursions.

The bleached-blonde performer reminds us psych and r'n'b were once closely knit, as with his hero Jimi Hendrix, something best demonstrated when he has the crowd cooing “I wanna roll with you”.

The night gets genuinely disturbing when Mockasin feigns slapping his female backing singer, who then sobs through the mainly instrumental 'Why Are You Crying?' Otherwise, he is charming company, appearing genuinely chuffed to be filling this theatre with his whimsies.

Mockasin's unfamiliarity with such a venue shows as the bedding incident is unseen by most. He makes better use of the space by unfurling unhurried, bluesy guitar over his bandmate's bubbing, dubby basslines. Though when another, Japanese, female vocalist materialises from under his blanket, that is a bonus.

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