Review: Connan Mockasin and the weirdest gig of my life

Connan Mockasin performing at Auckland's Hollywood Theatre on February 8, 2018.
Connan Mockasin performing at Auckland's Hollywood Theatre Photo credit: Newshub

Kiwi psychedelic sweetheart Connan Mockasin produced a bizarre but memorable show on the penultimate leg of his New Zealand tour.

Playing at the intimate Hollywood Theatre in Avondale, Auckland, Mockasin looked at ease as he riffed playfully on his guitar and sang in his distinctively childlike falsetto, moments after pulling his pants off.

Yes, you read that correctly. He was pantsless - sporting just an oversized T-shirt made just for him by Auckland designer Miss Crabb, and bright green gumboots.

His guitarist, who goes by the pseudonym Infinite Bisous, donned a priestly attire and also decided against wearing pants.

That wasn't even the strange bit, though.

The true oddity was his decision to open the concert with a short film entitled Dobsyn 'n Bosytn, which he'd lovingly crafted with his bandmates and girlfriend. It starred Mockasin as a teacher who falls in love with a female student, only to suffer heartache when he discovers the schoolgirl he was infatuated by was actually male.

It was weird.

For fans of Mockasin, it's no secret that he's a strange and enigmatic presence when he performs - but last night's show well and truly ascended to a new peak of peculiarity.

When he and his band finally got around to playing some music, they opted to perform Crazy Town's iconic hit 'Butterfly', rather than one of their own songs.

But from there, it was just straight bliss, as the band traversed through Mockasin's discography, effortlessly blending the laidback and unnerving tones of elevator music with the rocky, funk-infused licks of Jimi Hendrix.

Transitioning from 'It's Choade My Dear' to 'Lying Has To Stop' to 'Faking Jazz Together', Mockasin proved he was a master of improvisation on the guitar, and he noodled his way through the set-list with fluency.

After performing his third song, Mockasin very seriously approached the microphone to offer an apology.

"I'm really sorry," he said, "but I'm only about 70 percent greased up."

He offered no more context than that and no one in the crowd seemed to know what he meant, but we all laughed anyway.

That's the charm of Connan Mockasin. He's so unusual, and his music and lyrics are so otherworldly and strange, but he commits himself fully to it all. He's sincere in his weirdness.

There's no sign he's faking anything to appease his fanbase, or trying to come across as mysterious and alternative. He just is. And his musicianship stays impeccable despite that.

After finishing with 'Forever Dolphin Love', Mockasin gave his final farewell before heading offstage.

"I'm all greased up now. I'm sorry I wasn't at the start. I like to be greased up from the beginning."

We all cracked up again. No one knew what he meant, but it didn't matter.


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