It’s been a cold, dreary winter in Indianapolis, so I was really looking forward to a healthy dose of sunshine and daisies from LA, courtesy of the Mowgli’s. It turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. After an energetic set by support act, Mainland, the first few notes of The Mowgli’s fun, peppy music put a smile on my face. I wasn’t alone, either.
The six-piece band, which consists of Colin Dieden on vocals and guitar, Katie Earl on vocals and percussion, Matthew DiPanni on bass and vocals, Josh Hogan on guitar and vocals, Dave Appelbaum on keyboards and vocals, and Andy Warren on drums and vocals, provided a continuous parade of sights and sounds from the west coast that left everyone at The Hi-Fi in an upbeat state of mind.
Although The Mowgli’s sound is difficult to categorize into a specific genre, it’s undeniably alt/indie: mostly pop, with a dose of folk, a bit of jazz, and even an occasional touch of country. It’s also 100% Californian. The playful tunes, spot-on harmonies and polished sound are sweet and sincere…but not too sweet, and definitely not entirely innocent.
The Mowgli’s set at the Hi-fi consisted of a solid selection of songs from their four LPs, including catchy fan favorites such as “San Francisco,” “Say It, Just Say It,’ “Spacin’ Out,” “Bad Thing,” and “Freakin’ Me Out,” which created a party atmosphere and got the fans singing along. Although their latest single, “Real Good Life” was only released a few weeks ago, a large number of people recognized it immediately, cheering and gustily joining in the chorus.
Throughout the set, the band’s performance was spirited and animated. Although the stage was a bit crowded, they still managed to sway and dance, encouraging the crowd to do the same. The electronic backdrop, which displayed continually changing, color-saturated beaches, palm trees, amusement parks and other summer/Cali-themed images, enhanced the cheerful mood by evoking memories of sunny days, beach parties, friends, and happy times.
But there were also more serious moments, such as when singer/guitarist Colin Dieden introduced “Kansas City,” an autobiographical song about longing, addiction, and moving on. His solo encore version of “Arms and Legs,” an acoustic song about toxic relationships, was quietly beautiful. Both Dieden and vocalist Katie Earl passionately urged concertgoers to continually uplift themselves and uplift others, and to make a difference in the world.
The final encore song, “I’m Good,” summed up The Mowgli’s message of positivity and optimism, however, sending the crowd out into the chilly night feeling warm and fuzzy – at least on the inside.