LA-based Indie rockers The Mowgli’s turned up at New York’s Bowery Ballroom on Friday night to play in front of what was a surprisingly packed house. That The Mowgli’s sold out the venue is not a surprise, the surprise is that by the time I arrived – 30 minutes after doors – the venue was pretty well filled and was at capacity an hour before the band was set to take the stage. Needless to say, I severely underestimated the draw of both support acts – Dreamers and Colony House – and arrived late to a show that I’d be shooting from the crowd. Bad call on my part; lucky for me I was able to make my way to the stage and ended up only being 2 or 3 deep when The Mowgli’s hit the stage at 10pm.
Let me preface this by saying I was not intending to spend my Friday night with The Mowgli’s. I didn’t even realize they were in town until the day before, and I was lucky enough to get access to the show at the last minute; and I was certainly not planning to leave the venue at 11:30. My intention was to photograph the first few songs and go about my original plans for the night. That didn’t happen, solely because the band was unbelievably good and I couldn’t justify leaving mid set. I’ll start by saying that Colony House, a bunch of country kids from Nashville who showed up to play some good old fashioned rock and roll, were very impressive and nearly stole the show from The Mowgli’s. Those kids are definitely going places and I really hope they make it back to NYC in the near future.
Let’s jump right into The Mowgli’s. I’m sad to say that I can’t find a setlist, and I don’t know as much of their music as I thought I did, so I really have no idea what they played other than San Francisco, I’m Good and Leave It Up To Me. What I can tell you, though, is that there is more heart and soul in this band that most bands I’ve seen over the many years I’ve been going to concerts, and no band I’ve covered in the year I’ve been at this has lived up to the energy put forth by The Mowgli’s. From the time they took the stage until the time they departed nearly an hour and a half later, on a Friday night in New York City when most people are out partying, the band threw a party of their own complete with balloons, good vibes and great music.
The amount of energy and positivity in Katie Earl and Colin Dieden is unreal and second to none, highlighted at one point by Katie getting on the mic prior to I’m Good and telling the crowd that the one thing they really try hard to do is to make every single person the audience leave feeling better than they did when they walked in. And there was absolutely no doubt that every single person in the building left feeling good, and that’s the entire reason I stayed for the duration. Normally I don’t do the “fan” thing while I’m working a show, but about halfway through the band’s set, I found myself jumping up and down – while holding thousands of dollars in camera gear and drenched in a random beer – with the fans around me, and it was at that point I realized The Mowgli’s had made me a massive fan.
I wish I could tell you how many songs the band played and what those songs were, but I honestly didn’t bother to look for a set list on the stage because I was having too much fun in the crowd. When the band left the stage briefly ahead of their encore, the packed house not only chanted their name to draw them back out, but also erupted into a chant of “Bagel Dave” – the nickname apparently given to keyboardist Dave Applebaum and mentioned by Colin earlier in the night, to which Colin replied the “Bagel Dave” chant made it the best night of his life before jumping into the crowd midway through the band’s closing song and singing in the waves of fans that flocked to him.
I’m really disappointed in myself for not doing my homework and learning more of the band’s music ahead of the show, but I know one thing for certain – that will not happen a second time. I walked out of Bowery Ballroom a huge Mowgli’s fan, and I can honestly say out of all the shows I’ve been to either as a fan or working, this band easily puts on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. The Mowgli’s really, truly care about their fans and genuinely want everyone to leave happy, and do everything in their power to make that happen. I can’t say that about too many bands, and I have the utmost respect for The Mowgli’s because of that. It takes a lot to make me a huge fan, but this band earned it on a Friday night in lower Manhattan.
Check out our photo gallery below, which definitely says more than I’m able to.