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With a psychedelic drum set, some incense, and a playfully jazzy keyboard rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” during sound check, the tone of the evening was set well before the Mowgli’s took the stage. The Mowgli’s have been through Boston before with bands like Family of the Year and Youngblood Hawke, but this was their first headlining show since their major label debut, Waiting for the Dawn, was released in June. By that time the Mowgli’s had already spread their message of universal love and understanding to many concertgoers, and the ones who gathered at the Brighton Music Hall on the band’s most recent visit were more than happy to sing along.
The bassist and keyboardist of the Mowgli’s were the first to walk on stage. They began the show by playing the bass-line and opening piano riff of the title track from their new album. Soon the rest of the band slowly entered the stage and milled around for a minute or two before going into the song’s first verse. The slowness of it all seemed to recreate the experience of dragging yourself out of bed in the morning. It may take a while, but it’s all part of waking up to face the day. Then, once the Mowgli’s got their bearings, they showed the audience that it was time to live.
The dense harmonies and shared vocal duties that define the Mowgli’s sound were extremely prominent from beginning to end. The good vibes were constantly going even after the band messed up a lyric mid-song during “Leave It Up To Me.” They just shook it off and kept right on trucking. The Mowgli’s down to earth attitude continued shining through as they actively encouraged concertgoers to take part in their harmonies. The crowd also clapped and danced along to the music while taking in the band’s message of universal love and understanding.
This was most evident when the band asked everyone in Brighton Music Hall to express their collective unity, as well as support for those affected by the Marathon Bombings, by getting down on their knees and rise as they screamed out one massive harmony. Even before this the Mowgli’s were jumping around all over the stage as a couple of their members got offstage and joined the audience not once, not twice, but at least thrice. It was obvious that both the crowd and the Mowgli’s themselves were having the time of their lives.
At the end of the Mowgli’s set the entire audience was clapping and pounding their hands for an encore until the Mowgli’s got back onstage along with the band that had opened for them, River City Extension. It’s worth noting that River City Extension’s set earlier that evening began with an ominous, almost ambient-sounding beat that suddenly gave way to a triumphant battle cry that lasted throughout their set. By the end of their eight-song set it felt as if the band and audience had just gone through an intense conflict together and emerged victorious. The celebratory tone set by River City Extension couldn’t have done a better job preparing concertgoers for the Mowgli’s songs of love and living life without fear, so it only made perfect sense to invite them back on stage to perform the song that introduced the Mowgli’s to the world: “San Francisco.”
After a drawn out intro that gave the band time to pass out thank yous to the crowd and everyone involved in their current tour, the Mowgli’s launch into the anthemic “San Francisco” by declaring, “I’ve been in love with love / And the idea of something binding us together / You know that love is strong enough.” After the first iteration of the chorus, Mowgli singer-guitarist Colin Lousi Dieden jutted his microphone stand into the crowd to let concert-goers belt out the song’s only verse by themselves. When the song reached it’s conclusion the band added in an extended outro that featured multiple breakdowns as the band tried to keep the show going for as long as they reasonably could. At the very end the Mowgli’s thanked the audience once more and invited them all to gather close as they took a picture to commemorate that wonderful night. The walls between audience and band had completely broken down as the concert progressed into a communal celebration of the Mowgli’s belief that everyone should embrace their differences and live in harmony.