Show review: The Mowgli’s @ WCU


I have to be honest. I was expecting a crowd of about 20 people to be half-heartedly applauding The Mowgli’s on Friday night. It’s not because I don’t think they’re a great band, or because I don’t think Last Minute Productions promoted the show well. It’s because –I hate myself for thinking this– I assumed the general rap/country musical taste of the student body wouldn’t support this indie pop sound. I thought that the response to bright, beach-y Mowgli’s flyers would be “who?” This clearly was not the case. Students pushed toward the stage and the concrete seating around the fountain was packed. There was a steady flow of new spectators and the clapping grew louder after every song.

When the seven-member group exploded into their first jittery summer anthem, they seemed as unsure as I felt about the tentative crowd. Maybe they were expecting an even bigger crowd, or maybe they were also surprised at the turnout. They were holding back; I could feel it. The set was relatively short, only lasting about 45 minutes. To be fair, most of their songs come in two-and-a-half-minute bursts. They seemed to get more comfortable with each passing tune, to my relief. I wasn’t impressed by the vocals; they were a far cry from the polished sounds of their albums, Sound the Drum (2012) and Kids in Love (2015). However, the quirkiness of the random shouts within songs like “San Fransisco” is very intentional in telling us that they are a free-spirited bunch, which I can appreciate. “I’m Good,” the big single from this year’s Kids in Love, reinforced their theme of love, happiness and carefree-dom with a catchy chorus I’ve had stuck in my head since Friday night.

“We just want people to feel good,” Katie, the only female of the group, is quoted on their website. She and her two fellow lead vocalists pressed sentiments like this into the audience all night. About halfway through the set, Katie gushed over how happy they were to be on our campus and that they’ve “never played to such a beautiful view.” I glanced behind me to see what she was talking about, and was instantly grateful for the hundredth time to be at Western. Our mountains make us special, and it makes me so happy when an outsider recognizes that.

The Mowgli’s brought a refreshing indie pop sound to us for a night and we gave them a satisfying crowd and our everyday backdrop of the Great Smokies. By my account, it was a productive night.