December 18, 2014 American Authors Shine in New York City homecoming 11-7-14 w/ Oh Honey & The Mowgli’s
The progression of a band is an interesting experience for their fans to follow. Originally formed in Boston, Massachusetts as the Blue Pages, New York based Alternative Rock band American Authors have seen their popularity grow exponentially in the past few years after changing their name, successfully opening slots for bands like The Fray and OneRepublic, and getting heavy air play. Producing a hit single that is easily recognized by a broad range of people, American Authors’ debut album, Oh, What a Life, is topping charts as well. On the rise as one of the most talked about acts of 2014, the band found themselves as headliners on the second segment of the thirteenth annual Honda Civic Tour. The tour, which commenced on October 1st in Reno, Nevada, brought American Authors home on Friday, November 7th to perform at the Best Buy Theater in New York City with supporting acts Oh Honey and The Mowgli’s. Traditionally a tour that features a combination of established and up-and-coming artists in the Pop-Punk, Indie, and Alternative genres, it is clear that the organizers aim to include in the tour a variety of acts with a broad appeal. Stirring up excitement in Midtown at Best Buy Theater, this final leg of the Honda Civic Tour most definitely hit the mark.
With their mix of Indie and Pop-Folk music, and both male and female vocals, Oh Honey was a fitting beginning for this eclectic show. The two-piece was founded in Brooklyn by singer/guitarist Mitchy Collins, who was later joined by Danielle Bouchard on vocals. The band provided light fare, opening with a few originals featuring catchy rhymes, crisp vocals, and percussion with enough depth and weight to round out their overall sunny tone. After a few songs, Collins asked the crowd, “Who wants to keep the ’90s alive?” The band then proceeded to launch into a cover of TLC’s classic “No Scrubs.” The crowd, as enthusiastic about the ’90s as the band, sang along to every song, and the band clearly appreciated the audience’s involvement. Throughout the show, they continued to encourage participation with call and response interaction or simply by prompting the audience to clap along to the rhythm. Just as the audience was in tune with the band, Collins and Bouchard were in tune with each other. Singing solo, each has a mellow voice, but when singing together, their vocals become more powerful, creating a fuller sound overall. Oh Honey wrapped up their set with hit single “Be Okay,” which can currently be heard in a Chili’s commercial, among others, and which was also featured on Glee. Their lively performance was the perfect opener, and it set the mood for the rest of the night. Their debut album Postcards is set for release in early 2015.
Calabasas, California band The Mowgli’s took the stage next. Due to the size of the eight member band, combined with the energy of its members, the stage was almost too small for this ambitious Folk-Rock outfit. Like Oh Honey, The Mowgli’s also have both a male and female singer, Colin Louis Dieden and Katie Jayne Earle. Their vocals are bolstered by the six other members who sing backup along with playing their respective instruments. In stark contrast with Danielle Bouchard’s vocals, Earle sings in a distinctly raspy voice, but despite their differences in style, The Mowgli’s opened their set by expressing gratitude for having the opportunity to meet and befriend the other bands on the tour. From the very start of the set, the crowd was clapping and singing along, especially when the band played their hit track “Say It, Just Say It.” Dieden invited a friend on stage to play trumpet, and apparently energized by the crowd’s positive reaction, he jumped into the photo pit to get closer to his fans, singing with them, shaking hands, and giving hugs. The Mowgli’s put on an upbeat show, even when performing sad songs, and the audience clearly enjoyed their performance. Their major label debut, Waiting for the Dawn, was released in 2013, and it’s worth giving a listen.
After allowing anticipation to build with the crowd chanting their name while an intense light show took place, American Authors finally took the stage. James Adam Shelley was the first to walk out, offering the crowd a wide grin as he tuned his guitar. Matt Sanchez (drums), Dave Rublin (bass, keyboards), and frontman Zac Barnett soon ran out, and the show was underway. The band opened with “Home” and just a few lines in, the crowd was already singing along. Barnett seemed surprised that the audience was so enthused, and he showed his appreciation by constantly reaching out to shake hands with the fans in the front row. Each band member’s passion for the music was apparent, and it was clear that the emotions the band exhibited were authentic. Their talent for live performance was also obvious as each sound on the studio recording was faithfully and accurately replicated for the stage.
Moving along and keeping the level of excitement high, the band treated the crowd to multiple hits including “Believer” and “Best Day of Your Life,” along with cover versions of Coldplay’s “Yellow” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me.” Audience members savored every second of the set from the beginning to the encore conclusion where the band wrapped up the evening with “Keep Me Dreaming” and album title track “Oh, What a Life.” With the freedom of time, American Authors were able to play a broader range of their material and prove they are worthy of being a headlining act as they handled the spot with grace and skill.
With its diverse line-up of energetic and skilled performers, this might have been one of the best Honda Civic shows yet. Maintaining everyone’s attention throughout, even between sets, interaction was plentiful as a massive screen displayed music videos of other up-and-coming talents and bands featured on the tour. The three bands on showcase at Best Buy Theater had wide-ranging appeal, and fans of all ages were treated to what was, to put it simply, a great show.