OK, I’ll admit it, I am biased. I don’t think I will ever have a bad word to say about Connan and the Mockasins, and I would have gone to this gig regardless of the Checks. It just so happened however, that I missed the Checks at the Big Day Out, so now there were two reasons to go.
Connan and the Mockasins are, in my opinion, one of the best live bands in Wellington. Their sound, which harkens back to 70s rock ’n roll, without ever venturing near a pair of converse high tops, provides a fantastic opportunity to just let loose on the dance floor. At this gig, guys and girls alike were giving it all they had. Looking around it was obvious that the audience was made up of some seasoned veterans of Connan’s music, as they sung along enthusiastically.
Connan, as per usual, displayed his virtuoso guitar ability by playing it over his head, and with his teeth. I swear it sounds like he’s been playing the guitar from birth, he’s that good.
As much as I would love to rave on about Connan and the Mockasins, I must save some word space for The Checks, who at the tender age of 18, deserve all the word space I can muster.
There’s something slightly unnerving about seeing a band like The Checks play. These young Aucklanders would have been at least a couple of years younger than most of the people at Bodega, but their talent and confidence far exceeded their age. I don’t think I was the only one left thinking, “I wasn’t that cool when I was in 7th form”.
Decked out in the height of fashion – tight black jeans, cowboy boots and 60s shag haircuts – it wasn’t hard to spot these young rock stars in Bodega before they went on. And while the look is fairly common, and even clichéd these days, if anyone could pull it off, it was these guys.
My own scepticism about their status as rock stars was blown away when they took to the stage. The singer, unshackled by an instrument, strutted about the stage with as much confidence and stage presence as Miick Jagger or Julian Casablancas, and the rest of the band did more than just play their part as the obliging band; the guitarist was amazing, pulling out a fantastic riff more than worth a mention, and overall their set was tight and polished. They aren’t just the latest winners of the Rockquest!
If these guys are this good at 18, and they stay together for longer than five minutes, then – to spout another cliché – the sky is the limit! I’m just glad I got in and saw them when it was still only $10!
The Checks and Connan & the Mockasins
Friday 11th February, Bar Bodega