Review and photography by Robert Barrett
I’m convinced Connan Mockasin comes from another planet. Like any good shape shifting alien you never really know what to expect from him. Thankfully the UK had three chances to experience his warped and wonderful world on his current tour supporting his latest album ‘Jassbusters’. I flew up to his former homeworld of London to catch his final stop, a live performance and signing at Rough Trade East.
To explain some of what follows you need to understand the idea behind the new album. The record was released to coincided with the Bostyn and Dobsyn film. Connan and his childhood friend Blake play the lead roles as a music teacher who falls for a student. The music teacher (played by Connan) has a band called Jassbusters which is also the name of the album.
The evening began with a screening of the first part of Bostyn and Dobsyn. The surreal nature of the film help alleviate what could easily be a dodgy subject in the era of Me Too. The film was not for everybody, and that’s part of the charm. But many including myself found humour in the awkward pauses and unusual characters.
It was at this point that Connan and Blake took the stage in full Mr Bostyn and J Dobsyn outfit for a short Q&A. Although at times it was an awkward affair (perhaps part of the act?) the pair gave fascinating insight into the new record, film and even the origins of their friendship.
“I’m going to play a few songs for you now” Connan gently announced as the others phased from the stage. Picking up his sawn Fender Stratocaster he drifted straight into ‘Les Be Honest’ the final track form Jassbusters. Connan’s solo playing and vocals were ethereal, you could have heard a pin drop during the performance. A few more tracks from Jassbusters rounded our the short but sweet set. He finished on a version of ‘It’s Choade my Dear’, a solo version that was so celestial and airy it sounded like it was being transmitted from another universe.
“Thank you all for coming, I really appreciate it” Connan said as he headed for the signing desk. A queue of loyal followers formed right around the store. Still in disguise as Mr Bostyn he spoke and spent time with all of his fans, including myself.
As I was cast out of the airlock and into the cold depths of Shoreditch, signed record in hand. I hoped someday that I would return to the warped world of Connan Mockasin.
Les Be Honest
Con Conn was Impatient
It’s Choade my Dear
(The original version of this article was first published on Gigjunkies http://www.gigjunkies.com/band-reviews/connan-mockasin-at-rough-trade-east-london-uk-5th-november-2018/)