[mediagrid cat=”32708″]The Sinclair’s main dressing room was packed tight Tuesday night with various items of clothing, numerous instruments, a veggie tray, six band members and two dogs. Cambridge’s rustic venue was completely sold out for California alternative rock band The Mowgli’s 11th stop on their 20-show fall tour.
In an interview with The Daily Free Press, members Colin Dieden, Josh Hogan, Katie Jayne Earl, David Appelbaum, Matthew Di Panni, Andy Warren, accompanied by dogs Abby and Sukie, spoke about the tour and the recent release of the band’s third album, “Where’d Your Weekend Go?”
“It feels definitely like we’ve accomplished something,” Jayne Earl said of the record. “A lot of bands are not lucky enough to make it to album three, but we’ve had really supportive fans who continue to listen to our music and come to our shows, and we’ve been lucky enough to make it this far.”
As he sewed a Mowgli’s patch onto his jean jacket, Dieden added, “It’s like we’re all grown up.”
“Where’d Your Weekend Go?” continues the sound that made them famous in the first place: West Coast pop mixed with garage rock and a ‘60s folk backing.
“I feel like on this record, there’s a huge handful of new songs and then a handful of second album and then a handful of first album,” Hogan said. “It’s really cool to have that much material to choose from.”
However, a larger body of work makes choosing a set list harder, according to the band.
“The songs we’re not playing, we could do an entire 90-minute concert out of,” Warren said. And yet, being able to play new music that they’re proud of is a bonus.
“This set was a conscious effort to be like, ‘Well, we want to play new songs,’” Di Panni said. “We’ve been touring for the last, like, five years, playing these old ones, so there’s, like, eight new songs in the set.”
Though these new songs fit the band’s old sound, the subject matter is much more personal, sometimes even much darker than past music. “Monster” is about the hidden sides of someone that you might not see at first, and “Alone Sometimes” extols the benefits of skipping the party and taking time for yourself.
“I think that we’ve branched out of the common themes that we were writing about for a long time,” Jayne Earl said of the new songs. “We touched on a lot more personal stuff. There is a lot of loneliness, is a really common theme on this record.”
Though the new tracks aren’t as happy-go-lucky as older ones, like “Clean Light” or “Love Me Anyway,” fans have reacted positively, remarking that they still feel good after listening to the album.
The passion of the fans was clear once The Sinclair began to fill up later in the evening. They showed enthusiasm for both openers. The first, DREAMERS, began the night with synth rock that had everyone jumping up and down, though the sound didn’t quite fit the tour aesthetic.
The second opener, Colony House, sounded more like The Mowgli’s. Comparable to Cold War Kids or a surfer version of Catfish and the Bottlemen, the band wowed with singles “You & I” and “Silhouettes.”
Once the stage was cleared — complete with a rainbow drum set and five red balloons — the crowd was ready for The Mowgli’s. The band ran out and went straight into “Whatever Forever” a favorite from album two, “Kids In Love.” Immediately, the atmosphere went from already cheery to positively glowing, which is the magic of The Mowgli’s. The combination of brightly composed instrumentation and the happy chorus of their lyrics is hypnotizing.
Of the 17-song set, eight were from the new album. Others were crowd favorites like “Summertime” and the single that put the band on the map, “San Francisco.”
Warren had remarked earlier in the evening that playing crowd favorites is a bonus of having so many new songs.
“It’s cool to dust off some songs from the past that we’ve always been fans of and share them with this larger group of fans that we have now,” he said.
It’s hard to choose one song to sum up the presence and energy that The Mowgli’s bring to every room, whether they’re playing new tunes on a stage or sitting on a couch in a dressing room, petting a dog. Perhaps the simplest chorus from album one: “Love is simple, love is easy.”