The Mowgli’s Concert Review, 4/13/16
On a cool April night, Rhode Island got a taste of summer as The Rebel Light, Julia Nunes, and headliner The Mowgli’s [sic] brought good vibes and great music to The Met. Starting at 7:30 on the 13th, music lovers streamed into the venue, smiling, chatting, and rocking some Mowgli’s merch. Upbeat indie music played through the speakers as the crowd—and its excitement—grew and grew.
First up was indie pop band The Rebel Light. The LA group was all energy and sixties nostalgia, and got the crowd grooving with their retro guitar solos, punchy drums, and psychedelic synths. After kicking off their set with a few upbeat songs, the group slowed things down with a ballad that showcased the poignant side of their sound, as well as the band members’ multifarious talents: one guitarist alternated between guitar and xylophone, and lead singer Will Steill both played piano and busted out a trumpet during the bridge (which elicited wild applause from the audience, and an “OH, SNAP!” from this writer). The band’s cover of The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” was another highlight; the crowd grooved to the classic song, and cheered at TRL’s addition of a (totally wicked) drum solo at the end. For their last song, “Strangers,” the band demonstrated a fun stomp-clap rhythm that the audience quickly picked up. With its Beach Boys-esque harmonies and killer trumpet solo, the song encapsulated the most striking things about the band’s sound, and ensured that the audience wouldn’t forget The Rebel Light anytime soon.
Next, singer-songwriter Julia Nunes took the stage. “We’re gonna play some songs about some feelings I’ve had,” she quipped, and launched into a fun set that was as much about the music as about connecting with her listeners. Nunes preceded every song with an explanation of its meaning, and during these casual monologues she chatted and joked with the crowd, even wishing “happy birthday” to a lucky concertgoer. Naturally, the audience was thrilled; throughout the performance, fans yelled things like “You’re my hero!” at the top of their lungs (and undoubtedly lost their voices before the concert was halfway over!). Nunes’ ukulele-driven songs ranged from deeply introspective and mournful to sunny and catchy, and her melodic voice lent the show a cohesive feel. Set highlights include Nunes’ introduction to “Locked In My Mind,” in which she encouraged the audience to “change everything that you don’t like about your life” to get to a happier state; her cover of Alessia Cara’s smoldering hit “Here,” during which members of The Mowgli’s accompanied her on bass and drums; and Nunes’ final song, “Makeout,” an uptempo jam with an infectious bassline and a beat that had everyone dancing.
After jamming out to such lively opening acts, the crowd was more excited than ever to hear The Mowgli’s’ set. When the LA band finally burst onto the stage to perform their first song, the rollicking “Bad Dream,” the fans were ready. From the outset, the show was a joyous experience: every hand in the air, every lyric faithfully sung by the crowd. On tracks like “Summertime” and “Through the Dark,” the audience’s voices were deafening! It’s not hard to imagine why. Each Mowgli’s song was an anthem, filled with shout-along choruses, beats that no one could help but dance to, and lyrics about love and positivity—essentially, sonic sunshine. Onstage, the band’s energy was electric; band members danced and jumped around, hugged each other, and even headbanged once or twice (to indie pop, no less!). It was clear that the band loved playing their music as much as the audience loved listening to it. A few surprises throughout the set kept the crowd on its toes: after playing folk-pop singalong “Emily,” vocalist Katie Earl announced that the band is currently working on their third record, and the band performed new songs “Monster,” “Freakin’ Me Out,” and “Lasts Forever” to roars of applause.
After “You’re Not Alone,” singer/guitarist Colin Dieden helped a teenage fan ask his girlfriend to prom—definitely a memorable moment! The band closed the show with jubilant single “San Francisco,” which had the audience absolutely, ecstatically wild. “When we come to your city to play a show, our main goal here is to make sure that when you guys leave tonight, you feel a lot better than you did when you came in,” vocalist Katie Earl said during the set; judging from the happy smiles on their concertgoers’ faces, The Mowgli’s did just that.