Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Review: Mockasin, Arabia, Finn (and Finn, Runga, Fleetwood)

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Fleetwood Mac's drummer one of the surprise guests for show at vintage suburban theatre.
Lawrence Arabia (centre), Liam Finn (right) and a small child with a coincidental resemblance to Connan Mockasin. (Supplied).
Lawrence Arabia (centre), Liam Finn (right) and a small child with a coincidental resemblance to Connan Mockasin. (Supplied).

There can't be many occasions where you go to see a New Zealand supergroup perform and then they bring out not only Bic Runga and Neil Finn to guest on a number or two, but also Mick Fleetwood magically appears to play drums.

And that's before we mention the horn section rising from the audience (Hayden East and Finn Scholes) or special appearances from friends like Andrew Keoghan on violin or Kirin J Callinan on guitar.

Yes, Liam Finn, Connan Mockasin and Lawrence Arabia have friends in high places, but they also have a wonderful musical friendship and knack for interpreting each others' songs which shone just as bright as the famous guest stars on Friday evening.

The venue was also a star on the night, the Crystal Palace in Mt Eden feeling like the perfectly eccentric yet beautifully grand space for such a memorable occasion.

It's exciting to have a collective like Monster Valley (who organised the event) pushing to have more live music in the venue, and they certainly set the bar high with Mockasin, Arabia, and Finn.

The trio appeared in blue robes of different shades, with differing levels of décolletage on display and some sparkly bling necklaces which lent the impression they'd all joined a cult backstage, but also added nicely to the slightly unhinged atmosphere.

The three of them rotated instruments and songs, plucking favourites from their extensive catalogue.

The harmonies were superb on tracks like Ocean Emmanuelle, The Undesirables, and The 03. There were some fabulous guitar solos on It's Choade My Dear, Snug As F*** and Neurotic World, and wonderful hip shaking on Energy Spent, while their collective Monty Python-esque humour amused the lively crowd throughout.

The moment they surprised the audience by bringing a towering Gandalf-like Fleetwood on stage to perform Need Your Love So Bad was a truly memorable one, but Mockasin's performance of the early Fleetwood Mac tune was also absolutely mesmerising while Finn added beautiful organ and Milne was impressive on bass.

Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood has stayed on in Auckland after a show with his side project blues band and turned up to play at a benefit show where Neil Finn and Bic Runga was also surprise guests.
Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood has stayed on in Auckland after a show with his side project blues band and turned up to play at a benefit show where Neil Finn and Bic Runga was also surprise guests.

Early Kneecappings was a marvel, all funky with Mockasin on bass before turning into an epic instrumental jam with East, Scholes, and Keoghan flourishing all over.

I'm The Man That Will Find You got the crowd feeling all swirly and seductive before Mockasin brought another special guest on - Runga.

Not only could she give us all a lesson in how to make a dressing down look stylish, but she did a beautiful rendition of Charlotte Gainsbourg's Out Of Touch.

And from there things just got progressively more fabulous and crazy, rounding the evening off with a raucous Second Chance, psychedelic Forever Dolphin Love, and a giant singalong to Waiting For Your Love.

What enormous fun, and such a pleasure to see a group with outstanding musicianship really taking some leaps and risks.

Who: Mockasin, Arabia, Finn

Where and when: Crystal Palace, Friday, April 8

- NZ Herald

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