On Tuesday, January 31st, fans from all over the northeast got together in NYC’s intimate Mercury Lounge to support one of Los Angeles’s most energetic alternative musicians. Without a care in the world, Mondo Cozmo’s passionate performance showed us that music is truly his calling.
It may have been freezing cold in the streets of Manhattan last night, but the atmosphere inside Mercury Lounge was hot and heavy as people poured in to snag a great view of the stage for Mondo Cozmo’s – otherwise known as Joshua Ostrander – sold out show. Ten minutes before showtime the audience merged voices to belt out Mondo’s name, signaling that they could no longer wait to get down in unison with his music. I overheard remarks of sheer excitement over the fact that he opted to play such at such a small venue, given his tendency to rock out at massive festivals.
When it was finally showtime, a gang of bearded men assumed their positions on stage – dressed in black from head to toe, of course – and picked up their respective instruments. It goes without saying that their presence embodied the essence of ‘cool’. Ostrander tackled a series of technical difficulties that preceded the beginning of his set with tremendous grace, cracking jokes and familizaring himself with the audience. A bottle opener attached to a chain hung snugly from his neck as he made a couple of equipment adjustments before letting out a powerful, “we are all systems go.” He was ready to rock.
He did not hold back. The opening song, “Chemical Dream”, emitted the perfect amount of pep and inspiration juxtaposed with his raspy Springsteen-esque vocals. The next two jams in the setlist, “Sixes and Sevens” and “Higher” got the adrenaline pumping with distorted bass lines and a strategic placement of the ‘millennial whoop’. Now that the audience was prepped and primed, he took a moment to express his gratitude to his loyal fans:
“Thanks for coming tonight. I’ve been waiting my whole life to sell this place out.”
Following the brief intermission Ostrander took an unexpected turn toward a more soulful pair of jams, “Plastic Soul” and “Hold On To Me”. During the former he rocked out so hard that he quite literally dropped the mic.
His final number – most popular judging by the fact that EVERYONE knew the lyrics – provided us with 5 minutes of the purest form of unison. Kicking off with a familiar acoustic riff, Ostringer masterfully built up into a musical catharsis where he brought on a live choir to repeat the refrain, “let ’em get high; let ’em get stoned. Everything if you let it go.” His performance, albeit short-lived, was enough to get us excited for the release of his first-ever LP. In times when politics seeems like the most ubiquitous topic, it became clear that music is one of the only things that erradicates diversity and promotes unification.
Check out Mondo Cozmo performing “Shine” during his session on KCRW: