Connan and the Mockasins (Live) Review

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Well New Zealand Music Month is just about at an end. But before it's over I would like to share some Kiwi music with you all. Most of the world will be oblivious to the fact that New Zealand Music is celebrated during the month of may every year. The idea being to get people listening to more homegrown music and appreciate that New Zealand has so many good musicians.

On Friday May 26th I made my way down to Bar Bodega to check out one of my favourite Wellington bands, who unfortunately were playing their last gig before skying of to London. Like always we got to witness some opening acts, on this night we were treated to four bands. Thankfully like myself, the night was running behind schedule. I only managed to hear the last five minutes of Blain Hosford so it's really unfair for me to comment on his performance. However with the same last name as Connan I'm sure he was great. We were then treated to some highly energised B-52's style rock by Holiday with Friends. I can't say I was a big fan, but I give them credit for experimenting with a style that often leaves many people blocking their ears. They were enjoyable, but twenty minutes was a long enough set. By the time Black limousine took the stage it was getting late, I was there to see Connan and the Mockasins and I was starting to spend a bit too much money on drinks. To my surprise Black Limousine were brilliant. The front man stood over the crowd like King Kong and played his guitar like it was 1971. I really rated these guys and will definitely be making an effort to see them again.

Connan and the Mockasins finally stepped onto the stage around midnight. Appreciating that the crowd were their loyal fans, who have taken them from the bottom to the top of the New Zealand live scene; they took time out to get the sound just right. After some friendly banter between Connan and the sound engineer they cranked into their first number. Thrilling the crowd with their cuteness and stage antics. Something still wasn't quite right though, 'Sneaky Sneaky Dog Friend' and 'Uuu it's Teasy' sounded a bit to distorted and failed to impress the harsh critic inside me. But like always they turned on the slower blues tracks to inspire me. Connan is one of the greatest guitarists in New Zealand and his stripped down basic style worked a treat with my musical tastes. However it all seemed to go very quickly and when the band walked of stage saying farewell I wanted to cry. Cue in the encore. Three songs from their debut EP Naughty Holidays that have become cult favourites in Wellington. Going out with a bang the band left stage exhausted, knowing they now have to start from scratch to win over London in a few weeks time. Click on the link to find out where you can see Connan and the Mockasins in London.
So thats a little taste of New Zealand music. Keep an eye on this site for reviews of New Zealand albums that arrive in my mail from time to time.

The Return of Willy Mason

Thursday, May 11, 2006

When I was looking at my recommendations on Amazon the other day I noticed that Willy Mason has re-released his debut 'Where the Humans Eat'. So I thought it was a good time to post my review of the album. I wrote this last year when the album was first released.

Willy Mason- Where the Humans Eat

Where has this guy been hiding? Why are there not more musicians making music like this? Willy Mason is a modern day singer songwriter who has rediscovered what music should be about. His folk rock songs bring meaning and purpose back to music that has been missing for far too long. For a nineteen year old, the message he spreads shows his maturity and awareness about the real issues that face our planet in the twenty first century.

It's hard to pin point an area on this album that is better than another. The opening track sets the tone for the album, immediately striking you and making you go WOW! Quickly you realise that Willy Mason is a name that you want to tell all your left wing friends. His pessimistic view towards globalisation and celebrity role-models are expressed in such a convincing way that even your right wing friends might be swayed. The two standout tracks that need individual attention are `Our Town', an anti-war song about corruption and dishonesty and `Oxygen', about the problems our children face growing up in the technological age. Both speak about issues that our so-called music icons fail miserably in addressing.

Willy Mason is attempting to do what Bob Dylan and others did in the sixties. If you believe that protest songs are important in providing an alternative political message then you will certainly like this album.

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