When Chorus Grant takes the stage at Bremen Teater, there is no indication of how weirdly wonderful the night is going to be. Kristian Finne Kristensen & co, with their downtempo, ‘70s inflected rock, are very reassuring. They’re not just pleasant, they’re comfortable to listen to. It’s a really nice, really unassuming way to ease into the evening.
So when Connan Mockasin takes the stage, looking for all the world — with his bleach blond hair and black poncho — like a cult leader, things take a radically different turn. His psychedelic rock is really the perfect soundtrack to lying on your living room floor and tripping your face off, but it’s his personality and stage presence that make him worth coming out to see in person.
Before even picking up his guitar, he comes to the front of the stage to tell the audience that he is delighted to be in Denmark. It’s his first show here, ever, and when he tells the audience that he’s wanted to come here since he was a child, he sounds genuine. That’s a big part of why his show works. When he casts cheeky grins at the audience in the middle of pre-song improvisations, it feels spontaneous. When he plays his guitar from a seat in the front row for much of “Why Are You Crying?” it feels impulsive and not like something he’s been planning to do since this afternoon’s load-in.
Mockasin’s band is similarly easygoing, which works well as much of the set has a slow-motion quality to it. They frequently hit wind chimes to add to the dream sequence sensation of the music. More than halfway through the show, Mockasin walks up to the soundboard in the middle of the theater to introduce their soundman and get an audience perspective. When he returns to the stage, the crowd are on their feet.
But if the evening has only been unpredictable up to this point, it’s with the encore when things get truly odd. The band help to carry out a large duvet surrounding a petite Japanese woman in a kimono. She leads the crowd in a chant of Mockasin’s name before he emerges from under the duvet, now dressed in beige pajamas, bare chested and doing little to sway me from my early assessment of him looking like a cult leader. He finishes his set singing through a pitch-shifted mic that’s dropped his vocals more than an octave. It might be going a bit beyond accessible artistic expression, but it’s definitely memorable.