Oh Honey, The Mowglis, and American Authors - Philadelphia - November 8th, 2014
Last Saturday we made our way down to The Trocadero Theater in downtown Philadelphia for three killer performances from Oh Honey, The Mowglis, and American Authors as part of the Honda Civic Tour. Oh Honey, an indie folk/pop duo from Brooklyn, opened up the show with their uplifting, feel-good pop folk tunes and spirited personalities. Most of the songs were from their With Love EP, but the audience was also treated to a few extras. Vocalist Danielle Bouchard engaged the crowd with her fun dance moves throughout each song while vocalist and guitarist Mitchy Collins encouraged the audience to sing along and let loose. The entire performance was great, but certain songs stood out in their six-song set. The first was Don't You Worry Love, which Collins introduced by describing the message of the song, "It's about believing there's always tomorrow." This acoustic-driven folk song features impeccable harmonies between Bouchard and Collins, as well as a powerful, catchy beat that underscores the spirit in the lyrics.
The next song was one of the most exciting in the whole set. Collins hinted before it began asking the crowd, "who remembers the 90s?" He then continued to name off various 90s television shows, and the audience reacted with fond cheers. The band then expertly began an incredible acoustic cover of No Scrubs by TLC, one of the most popular songs from the 90s. The crowd immediately recognized the lyrics as soon as Bouchard's crystal clear voice articulated them, and everyone sang along. The band put their own spin on the Top 40 hit by transforming it into a tender, stripped down tune marked by unwavering harmonies and acoustic guitar-picking, all the while maintaining the song's fierce attitude.
Oh Honey finished out their set with their biggest hit Be Okay. This happy folk-pop song that choruses the lyrics "Can't complain about much these days, I believe we'll be okay," communicating the optimistic, life-loving nature of this band. The crowd ate up the fun yet purposeful lyrics and delighted in the perfect harmonies and strums flowing from the stage. Ending on the happiest of notes, Oh Honey exited the stage, leaving the crowd revved up for the rest of the acts to come.
Shortly after, The Mowglis, an alternative rock 7-piece from sunny Southern California graced the stage with their equally sunny presence. Despite the crowded stage, vocalists Colin Dieden and Katie Earl stood out and delivered their opening song Emily. Throughout the whole set, each member of the band was rocking out, which made the performance that much more enjoyable. Earl's undying energy kept the crowd alive while the band jammed out tunes like The Great Divide, Kids In Love, and Summertime.
They finished out their 9-song set with crowd favorites Say It, Just Say It, and San Francisco. Each of these songs encompass The Mowgli's ecstatic energy and happy disposition as they try to spread their message of love and light through music. The band absolutely killed it on stage and honestly reminded me why I love going to shows. The bonding aspect of live music was in full force during The Mowglis' set, which isn't an effect every band can have on an audience.
To wrap up the night, American Authors took the stage for their headlining spot on the Honda Civic Tour. Their set included each song off their 2014 debut album Oh, What A Life, starting with Home, an anthem-like tune that tells the story of a man trying to get back home after a long journey. The next two songs were Heart Of Stone and Believer. The latter is the opening track on the album, and it is an optimistic, up-beat song about believing happy change will come soon: "I'm just a believer that things will get better."
The next song was definitely one of the best of the night. Luck, which is also on the debut album, is a tune about following one's dreams and ambitions despite disapproval. This was a particularly powerful point in the show because lead singer Zac Barnett mentioned they had some family members who came to see them at the concert. During this song, Barnett repeatedly looked up at the right balcony, where it seemed some of his family was sitting. As an on-looker, I immediately got chills when Barnett sang the lyrics to the song while his family was watching, particularly "I'm sorry, Mother/ I know I let you down, I'm sorry, Father/ I didn't stick around" and "Just like my old man, I make my own luck." This performance was incredibly moving and gave life to the song.
During their set, American Authors performed two breathtaking covers. The first was Yellow by Coldplay. They turned the song into a happy folk-rock tune with acoustic guitars, a banjo, and one drum. The whole crowd sang along being led by Barnett's impressive vocal range. The second cover was Stay With Me by Sam Smith, and it came towards the end of the set. Keeping the slow, tender tempo and embracing all the emotion wrapped up in this song, the band gave a beautiful rendition. The performance was primarily acapella, as the band formed a horizontal line on the stage with each member having a microphone in front of him. The song had a gospel style to it, and the crowd grew quiet as the remarkable voice of each band member filled the room, led by falsettos from Barnett.
As the night was winding down and there was only one song left to be played, bassist Dave Rublin commented on how he could visually see the level of success they have reached since playing for the first time at that venue. The Trocadero has a main venue and a very small, intimate balcony venue. Rublin recounted that when they were just starting to tour as a band, they were opening up for another band in the much smaller balcony section of the Troc. Both Rublin and Barnett thanked the fans for supporting the band and getting theme to the main stage of the venue. After this heartwarming speech, they proceeded to perform the last song on their setlist, Oh, What A Life. This song is nostalgic and reflective, which perfectly fit the recount of American Authors' success. The crowd sang and swayed, and we all left with full hearts.
As previously mentioned, that night at The Honda Civic Tour reminded me why I love music and attending shows. It is a unique ability for a band to be able to make an audience feel bonded through the notes and lyrics, and all three of these acts accomplished that. Philly was home to love and light that night because Oh Honey, The Mowglis, and American Authors were in town.