Friday, January 24, 2014

Connan Mockasin / Teleman @ Hare & Hounds, Thursday 23rd January 2014

Anyone bemoaning the lack of truly unique, slightly bonkers musicians (and no...Justin Bieber doesn’t count) these days just needs to plug straight into the world of Connan Mockasin. Whether his claims of not listening to anyone else’s music for the last ten years or recording his album in a Tokyo hotel room are true or not the stuff he’s come out with so far is delightfully idiosyncratic...or a bit nuts depending on your point of view. Given this it was gratifying to see a brilliant turnout for tonight’s gig (it was a sell out in fact), kicked off by promoters This Is Tmrw favourites Teleman. Sharing a similar head space with Django Django, Dutch Uncles and Alt J they’re one of a number of bands around right now that in better times would’ve been playing Top Of The Pops, in turn distracting the nation’s youth from some of the putrid filth currently masquerading as music. As it is they’ve found support from the ever reliable 6 Music who gave Cristina and Steam Train Girl (arguably their two strongest tracks to date) plenty of airtime last year.

This is their first gig in Brum apparently, an announcement that’s met with a particularly enthusiastic cry of “Come back again” after just a couple of tracks. It’s an understandable reaction given that the band manages to cleverly blend motorik beats with more of a hipster indie feel. There’s a touch of Blur about them at times too with lead singer Thomas sounding a little like the lovechild of Albarn and Coxon especially on the fairground organ driven In Your Fur (surely destined to be a future hit single?). Elsewhere they go more Fujiya and Miyagi on our ass with the naggingly insistent Skeleton Dance. 

Time then for Mr Mockasin, this evening bedecked in white trousers, a white silk blouse top, black leather jacket and what looked suspiciously like his granny's sun hat. Proof that you can sometimes judge a book by its cover Connan’s music is a similar mix of the masculine and feminine, blending woozy psychouts with a vocal that’s occasionally so high pitched only dogs and particularly attentive teens can hear it. Swigging from a bottle of wine (naturally) throughout the gig the set’s relatively short on tracks but given that some of them stretch out languidly to 10 minutes or more that’s no real surprise. With a trio of albums under his sun hat there are plenty of gems to choose from though and the dreamy womb of a tune Do I Make You Feel Shy? (from new album Caramel) soon sets the tone for the evening, lulling the capacity crowd into the kind of blissed out mood that normally follows some serious action in the sack. Connan was just getting started though, flipping us over and gently wooing us with It’s Choade My Dear, a tune with such weird notes and vocals that it should frankly be labelled a Class A drug. Seriously what tunings are his guitar in? Every note sounds so wrong and yet so right at the same time. It’s really, really STRANGE. Ramping up the weird I’m The Man, That Will Find You (imagine Prince after a carrier bag full of weed) managed to be both creepy and rather sexy at the same time, with Connan whispering sweet nothings suggestively into the microphone. Hubba hubba ladies. Like all good lovers he saved the best till last though, with a trippy version of his magnum opus (or mignim opis as he’d probably pronounce it) Forever Dolphin Love. 

“Ohmygod he’s soooooo sexual” moaned one young lady towards the climax. It’s pretty unusual to come across (steady now) someone that sounds so different to everyone/everything else these days but Mockasin’s just that and despite (or maybe because of) the weird tunings, balls in a vice vocals and other worldly appearance it’s a pretty captivating package. All hail the strangely sexy God of Odd. 

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