Connan Mockasin - Manchester Apollo

“Thank you for clapping.” Now that’s humility. With maybe an unspoken suffix of “… and not throwing things.” Those of us in freaked out thrall to Mockasin’s catchily titled debut Please Turn me Into the Snat fear for his chances in the relatively sedate confines of a seated Crowded House gig. Two and a half thousand potential (polite, of course) dissenters is enough to give anyone the willies. When he cracks open a bottle of wine mid-set and admits that “being the support act makes us very nervous”, you wonder just how much is wacky messing and how much is stone cold (sober?) truth.

But - and here’s a thrilling turn up – Manchester offers Connan warm appreciation. And so they should. Wisely heating up the album from its chilly, haunted setting into something altogether friendlier is a smart move. Kicking in with the albums opening brace is equally well judged. ‘Megumi the Milky Way Above’ and ‘It’s Choade my Dear’, given a little muscle by a three piece backing band, swirl around the Apollo and attract curiosity which gives way to appreciation. When he oscillates his falsetto on the latter by grabbing his throat and wobbling it about, you sense goodwill seeping away but that and subsequent japes do little damage. The band remove big blonde wigs halfway through (“Theatrics, Manchester !”) and I’m still not sure about his claim that he met his bassist nine days ago and the guitarist the day before. Probably true, to be fair. Whatever, Mockasin onstage is as compelling as on record and a little bit less scary. I’m still not entirely sure why, to be perfectly frank, but a massive thumbs up nevertheless.

Photo courtesy of TMF's Mike Gray

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