Sanguine SoCal band, The Mowgli’s, performed at the Sinclair in Cambridge this past Tuesday, April 15—the one-year anniversary of the tragic Marathon bombings. Having played shows here over the past few years, The Mowgli’s have grown a fondness for our city of Boston, and felt that the least they could do to recognize the day’s significance was hold a pop-up show at Allston’s Great Scott before their gig that night to benefit Marathon victim relief. The intimate event involved a meet-and-greet and a short acoustic set in remembrance of the hardship that Boston faced last spring, with the band collecting donations for The One Fund Boston, an organization that aims to support those most affected by the Marathon bombings.
As a freshman celebrating my first ever Marathon Monday last year, I remember feeling completely dazed and rattled by the unexpected, sickening events that sabotaged last year’s race. I also remember connecting with my peers in the midst of calamity, and again in celebration when the suspect was caught later that week. Tuesday marked a time to reflect on the Marathon tragedy and the complex cluster of emotions it brought upon us, our school, and our city. It also served as a milestone to celebrate Bostonians’ incredible tenacity in uniting in the face of misfortune, remembering the heroes who arose that day and appreciating the sense of morale that has been revitalized over this past year. The Mowgli’s’ spontaneous performance provided a perfect opportunity for the small group of us who attended to reject cynicism and find peace on this meditative day, as the band served us their sentimental songs sunny-side-up, relating them to the “Boston Strong” mentality.
The Mowgli’s did not perform their acoustic set on Great Scott’s stage, but instead gathered on bar stools and joined their audience of twenty-some fans in what felt like a campfire circle. To introduce their opening tune, “The Great Divide,” vocalist Katie Jayne Earl explained, “We write songs about love. We love Boston, and a little love can make the world a better place.” They played “Clean Light” next, a more lyrically existential song that explores how in both good and bad times, we stand together, and even when we share negative experiences, something special exists in our capacity to feel. Before beginning the song, Earl said to frontman Colin Dieden, “Everything we go through, we really go through together.” With their next song, “Time,” The Mowgli’s reminded us that although we experience trauma in our lives, we have to carry on living as fully as we can, fighting time—“This song is about living life the way you want, and living life in love, and just doing what makes you happy.” They followed with “Say it, Just Say It,” engaging the room in a comradely sing-along, and finished with their biggest hit, “San Francisco.” Using the Celtics-Lakers rivalry as an analogy for this last song’s message, seeing as the band hails from Los Angeles, Dieden joked, “This song is about basketball.” Earl elaborated earnestly, “This song is about people coming together, despite their differences”—a hackneyed sentiment that nonetheless resonated as akin to Bostonian spirit in the context of Marathon Monday.
The Mowgli’s made a simple and sincere effort to show Boston some love while in town, catching up with fans they recognized from past performances, and getting to know new faces that came by the Great Scott to see the band and to contribute to Marathon victim relief. Their performance and its messages, however riddled with clichés, gave attendees a sense of optimism on a rainy, somber day, and reminded us of the immense communal pride that makes the city of Boston so special.