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Paul Mann: The Mowgli’s Bring Good Times to Velvet Jones Nightclub

Los Angeles-based feel-good pop group The Mowgli’s received a warm Santa Barbara welcome during their concert May 25 at Velvet Jones nightclub.
Los Angeles-based feel-good pop group The Mowgli’s received a warm Santa Barbara welcome during their concert May 25 at Velvet Jones nightclub. (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

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The Los Angeles-based feel-good pop group The Mowgli’s opened their summer tour with a surprise concert at Velvet Jones nightclub on May 25 in Santa Barbara.

While most college kids were cramming for finals, many managed to stumble downtown for the upbeat showcase of this new band best described as being made up of millennium flower children.

The music and lyrics of the band purposely revolve around a feel-good theme, more closely associated with the 1967 Summer of Love than today’s ADD generation of millennial slaves to cell phone apps. But the unique vocal harmonies and music structures that the band have created are anything but old school.

As fresh as they sound, the band members are now six-year veterans of musical recordings. The group is currently working with producer Mike Green (All Time Low, Paramore), on their as-yet-untitled third album that’s due out in the fall on Photo Finish Records. The band just released the album’s first single, “Freakin’ Me Out,” available now on iTunes.

The six-piece group features Colin Louis Dieden on vocals, guitar and percussion; Katie Jayne Earl on vocals and percussion; Matthew Di Panni on bass and vocals; Josh Hogan on guitar and vocals; Dave Appelbaum (former Santa Barbara resident) on keys and vocals; and Andy Warren on drums, percussion and vocals.

The Mowgli’s’ feel-good music and message have resonated across the globe, attracting a loyal fan base from all over the world. Their first album, Waiting for the Dawn, premiered at No. 4 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and gave the group their first hit song, “San Francisco.” Their sophomore album, Kids in Love, included the happy-go-lucky summer song “I’m Good,” originally written for an anti-bullying campaign. Following Kids in Love, they released two more fan favorite singles and “Room for All of Us,” a song released in support of the refugee-relief organization International Rescue Committee.

The show at one of Santa Barbara’s premiere live venues, Velvet Jones, was an intimate experience with the band, feeling almost like a slumber party at their house. The group, which would often switch up instruments and lead vocal duties, seemed to be gleefully enjoying their role as the feel-good cheerleaders for the mostly college-age crowd. Band members frequently bantered with audience members, engaging them one on one throughout the show.

At one point, they introduced keyboardist Dave Appelbaum, as a former Santa Barbaran eliciting a big roar from the crowd. He then took a turn as lead vocalist.

The band has a sophisticated style that is easily overlooked in their happy-go-lucky approach to their sound and lyrics. But their musical structures often change mid-tempo, creating unique hooks and a fascinating new landscape of pop music. Judging from the response of the crowd at their opening salvo summer concert in Santa Barbara, this band will continue to make loyal new fans and fresh music for quite some time to come.

Thanks for the good vibrations and come back soon.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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