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Live Review: Connan Mockasin

25 March 2019 | 3:19 pm | Luke Saunders

"Connan Mockasin delivered one of the most eclectic, entrancing and experimental musical experiences going around."

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In an eclectic and experimental comedy performance, Connan Mockasin skilfully wove avant-garde and lo-fi elements into a refreshingly ingenious experience. 

Bostyn 'N Dobsyn is a five-part film by Connan Mockasin made in conjunction with this third studio album Jassbusters. The first episode played to a seated audience at Enmore Theatre last night. The entire film is likely shot in one room, with cardboard walls, cardboard props and wigs. The sub-par production seemed part of the zaniness everyone has come to know and love about Mockasin. The born and bred Kiwi played Bostyn, a very creepy music teacher trying to seduce his student Dobsyn. Bostyn is attempting to relive his glory days in band Jassbusters and as the film ends with the characters watching an old tape on Bostyn’s couch, out comes Mockasin and the Jassbustersdropping into Con Conn Was Impatient. 

Still in the awkward character of Bostyn, Mockasin meandered around the stage pawing at the air and making strange hand gestures. The four-piece played through most of the Jassbusters album, a collection of lo-fi, jazzy groove numbers. They rounded out the set with Charlotte’s Thong, a crowd favourite. It was ultimately an underwhelming yet strangely beautiful performance, as they relied more heavily on comic whims than musical talent. Still, the sheer creativity and unorthodox approach must be applauded. 

The third part of the night was Connan Mockasin at his finest, the musician losing his Bostyn wig. Faking Jazz Together had the crowd reeling, collectively trancing through Mockasin's handmade, chorus-soaked dreamland. No song is the same, and Mockasin takes his sweet time, jamming with the band and wandering about the stage, lost in his own reverie. 

The band played material predominantly from their masterful 2011 release Forever Dolphin Love. A particularly mesmerising moment came during It’s Choade My Dear, in which Mockasin possessively plucked two notes while rocking back and forth on the ground. The audience clapped rhythmically for minutes before he dropped back into the song with ease. Like the Jassbusters, Mockasin revelled in awkward silences and used many to tease the crowd. 

It’s hard to quite put into words the Connan Mockasin experience, as so many elements of avant-garde, experimental, jazz, and pop are mixed into both his music and his performance. Closing the set with the momentous Forever Dolphin Love, it's safe to say that Connan Mockasin delivered one of the most eclectic, entrancing and experimental musical experiences going around. 

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