NZ Band Garners Rave Reviews in London
Tuesday November 14th, 2006
NZ Band Garners Rave Reviews in London
It's not easy moving to London to try and make it big in the music industry there. Not at all. But Connan and the Mockasins, who are returning to New Zealand mid-December to tour, are well pleased with what they've managed to achieve over the past couple of months in the UK.
They've played over forty live shows including an inner city residency, won a music video contest that saw their single getting air play on MTV, released a 7" record in the UK under the Regal-Parlophone label, been name checked by various influential UK media, including the taste making music magazine, NME, recorded with producer Fat Boy Slim in his home. And yep, beside various other celebrity sorts, actor Jude Law has even been to one of their shows, at a warehouse party in East London.
"We came over here with only two shows booked and spent most of the first month crashing on other people's floors," their manager Zak Gibson recounts. "But we made a few contacts and met a few people that really liked the band and wanted them to play more gigs. And the ball's just kept on rolling really."
That's included a residency at the Water Rats Theatre, described by View London as "one of the capital's prime live venues for indie music, famous for hosting the most exciting new bands." Apparently this was a bit of a lucky break - another group pulled out and the Mockasins were called in as last minute replacements. Management at the venue liked them so much they were asked to play at the bar once a week, all of October. "It went really well," Gibson says, "the crowds picked up every week until the last show of the month, when the venue was packed."
Among the crowd were reviewers from some of the city's most influential music media - and they liked what they heard. As Ian Dooley, the blogger from the UK industry publication, Music Week, put it, "it's an increasingly rare occasion that you see a band you know very little about and emerge from the gig completely blown away by their talents. Last night's performance by Connan and the Mockasins was one of those occasions."
"A sound unto their own these New Zealanders are the most exciting live act we've seen in a long time," the paper version of the magazine proclaimed the following week.
And another publication, Marmalade, a style and culture magazine based in London, had this to say: "an interesting band, quirky and eccentric in equal measure, with a sound they describe as "60s blues meets the Muppets". Lead singer Connan plays the guitar like a man possessed, whether it's behind his head with his teeth or on the floor. The drum and upright bass section deliver driving primal rhythms with tons of soul - this is bluesy, chest-beating, foot-stomping stuff to be devoured immediately."
It's because of this sort of popularity and rave reviews - plus the fact they've had interest expressed from several major and independent labels in signing them over in the UK - that the former Wellingtonians will be returning to chilly London and a crowded flat early next year. But in the meantime, they're hoping for a warm Christmas, a sell-out tour and for more New Zealanders to discover what a fair few Britons have recently found out.
Connan and the Mockasins Mini Album 'Uuu it's Teasy' is in all good Music stores. Brand new single "There Goes Tane' is going out to TV and radio in the next few weeks.
Connan and The Mockasins NZ Tour
Christchurch - Dux De Lux - 13/12/06 (tickets from Real Groovy)
Wellington - SFBH - 14/12/06 (tickets from Real Groovy & Slow Boat Records)
Hamilton - Sohl Bar - 15/12/06 (tickets from venue)
Napier - Shed 2 - 21/12/06 (tickets from Music Machine)
Auckland - Kings Arms - 20/1/07 (tickets from Real Groovy & Fast & Loose)
Tickets are $16 and go on sale November 17