Connan Mockasin, Telemann: The Soup Kitchen, Manchester


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Wilfully oblique yet the master of suspense, Connan Mockasin treats Manchester to an all too fleeting appearance, Getintothis’ James Elson hopes for a comeback all too soon.

Wearing the crowd as his medal, Connan Mockasin began the short slink of his UK jaunt in Manchester’s Soup Kitchen.
Time could be short for his fans. The New Zealand funk-whisperer claims his second album may be his last. Those who caught him on this most mini of tours could soon be counting themselves lucky.
Telemann proved themselves a worthy support, pleasing the crowd with upbeat pop-bop mechanics. Sweet harmonies chimed, drum machines clicked and bass plucked accordingly. The mainly placid crowd roused themselves as the band’s set came to a close, showing their appreciation for the indie canapé to Connan’s main course lobster.
The Soup Kitchen is a small venue. Mockasin is a high profile act for such an intimate space. It made for a close atmosphere, one which matches his latest release Caramel.
Opening with Do I Make You Feel Shy?, Connan’s fragile croon slides its way around his audience. Smooth keys lapped over the grooving rhythm section in sweet sympathy. With his set limited to an hour by a strict curfew, the Kiwi moved swiftly through some of his biggest numbers. Faking Jazz Together involved audience participation, revealing a falsetto talent that many never knew they had.
Just as the set cruised to its midway point, Connan got even more involved with the crowd. Announcing his love for Manchester, his adopted hometown, he left the stage and waded in amongst the punters. The bleach-blonde minstrel lay on the floor and his adorers crouched down with him.
After highlighting sections of It’s Your Body, he then proceeded to play the kind of guitar solo which doesn’t get played these days. Overly long, indulgent, grandiose and brilliant.
Maybe some would protest this kind of showmanship, but no-one in the Soup Kitchen seemed to mind. Quite the opposite in fact.
The time limit meant Connan‘s time with us was short but sweet. He returned to the stage to play a majorly condensed but nonetheless superb version of Forever Dolphin Love.
Normally a progressive ten minute track, every interlude section was played at breakneck speed to get us to the juicy bits. It served as a fitting representation for the whole set.
Connan now sets off for foreign shores and the impending inevitability of the summer festival circuit. No doubt his pixie-psyche will scythe through the greyness purveying our lives and lift us towards something better, something slinkier, something sexier, something groovier.
Let’s hope he returns soon.

Further reading on Getintothis:
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: Manchester Apollo.
Morrissey: Autobiography review.
Record Store Day, the vinyl revival and the music in our mess age.
Linda Perhacs returns from wilderness for Liverpool show at Leaf.
Record Store Day 2014 in Liverpool – what’s on.
GIT Award 2014: The Kazimier, Liverpool featuring Lapsley, Africa Oye, Bill Ryder-Jones, Mad Brains, Forest Swords & more.
Astral Coast reveals headliners Bill Ryder-Jones, Tea Street Band and By The Sea