It’s a blistering hot Friday in Los Angeles as Mondo Cozmo takes the stage at The Greek Theatre, followed by a mellow-melodic introduction with “Hey Steven” from their latest EP Your Mother**ker. I was taken by their calm yet energetic performance as we waited for The Greek to fill up for headliner Vance Joy, who was accompanied by Mondo as support on his Nation of Two World Tour. The short set was a mixture of old and new material, including the crowd pleasing “Tonight Tonight” and “Automatic.” Mondo Cozmo brought humility, dry humor and an alternative rock sound that made the crowd want to dance, take a step back, and relax all through out the set.
Following the opening song, frontman and brain child of Mondo Cozmo, Josh Ostrander, joked about the Los Angeles heat and offered the crowd waters at the price of $8, before proceeding with “Thunder.” This took as a very energetic performance, but the crowd didn’t seem to engage as expected, partially due to the heat and Vance Joy fans unfamiliar with the LA artist. Towards the end, Ostrander disclosed to the crowd how the band huddles up before hitting the stage to talk about their intent, and the reason behind it all. “Today we play for all the local bands that couldn’t get on this stage,” reaffirms Ostrander. A true mark of humility, a reminder that even artists are humane.
Settling comfortably within the set, an upbeat, funky drumbeat, followed by whispering guitars brought “Higher” — a summertime groove with all the feels — to the stage, which the crowd quickly responded with dancing and waving. Nearing the bridge of the track, Ostrander notices a couple who got engaged during that duration of “Higher,” and pointed them out, gearing a communal cheer and applause for the joyous couple, as the chorus climbed back on.
Halfway through their set, “Plastic Soul” emerged, a track inspired by Bowie, explained Ostrander. Quickly switching to a newer track from the recent EP, Your Mother**ker, “Tonight Tonight” blasted through the speakers and the pit instantly began to dance. Despite the track’s short duration, only coming in at two minutes, there was enough funk that allowed the crowd to get moving. The heat wave continued to stir in Los Angeles, and paired with momentous movements of funk both on stage and in the pit, it led Ostrander to throw water bottles into the crowd. The warmheartedness continued as Ostrander casually joked about meeting a fan, of course if they were 21 and over, at the local 711 to buy them a beer, as he hyped the anticipating crowd for Vance Joy.
The Greek is almost filled as Ostrander begins with the laid back track, “Shine,” which brought back reminiscent values familiar to Oasis’ 1995 hit, “Champagne Supernova.” The crowd began to vibe alongside Ostrander as he sang the addictive hook, “Let the get high, let them get stoned!” Building up momentum from the crowd, Ostrander paused with an acoustic before the the rest of the band filled in the empty slots of the track, absorbing a multitude of cheers. The EP’s title track, “You’re Mother**ker,” neared towards the end, and initiated movement through its electric tuning, which was quickly followed by “Automatic.” The crowd joined and danced along, allowing for a great ending to their set.
Mondo Cozmo had a varied amount of energy during their set, from mellow grooves, to dance tracks, and funky, catchy melodies that you will find yourself searching for the next day, while others possessed a different type of replay value, such as “Tonight Tonight” and “Automatic.” Despite the scorching 100 degree weather, Mondo Cozmo came out and gave their all to an overwhelming audience ready for Vance Joy. Ostrander is a reminder to all aspiring musicians that it’s an accomplishment to be able to perform for hundreds of people. Although not many people in the crowd knew him, he sure left his mark on them.
Additional Photos: Amalia Sepulveda for GUM