Last week I had the opportunity to see Mondo Cozmo live at the Casbah in downtown San Diego. It was a memorable experience. Who is Mondo Cozmo? Mondo Cozmo is the stage name of singer/songwriter Josh Ostrander. Ostrander is a home-grown Philadelphian whom you may recognize from his previous work as frontman of Laguardia or his time with the Eastern Conference Champions. In April 2016, Ostrander made his solo debut as Mondo Cozmo with the release of his single “Hold On to Me.” With an impressive discography dating all the way back to 2004 already under his belt, he is coming into 2017 with a new hunger and more creative freedom than ever before. I had the pleasure of meeting up with the man himself before the show. When discussing his musical influences, he credited Nirvana as being a driving force that motivated his musical pursuits. We also spoke about the show he performed at the night prior, in Los Angeles. He explained the biggest challenge of that evening was combatting technical difficulties and broken equipment. Even with the obstacles stacked against him, like a true showman, the show went on, and he and his bandmates proceeded to provide the big L.A. audience with an amazing experience. Although L.A. was crazy, he was particularly looking forward to this San Diego performance because of the type of venue. He enjoys performing at smaller venues because he feels he can get more intimate with the crowd. After a couple games of pool, the crowd had arrived and it was time for the show.
The show opened with a performance by a band named Sego. This band was born in Utah and now resides in Los Angeles. Lead vocalist Spence described the band’s sound as a culmination of inspirations, but ultimately takes the title of “slacker rock.” I instantly gravitated to this newly discovered style of rock, and I was not alone. Sego connected with the crowd and put on a theatrical show, utilizing the venues lighting to its fullest potential. During their set, they shouted out Mondo Cozmo and covered a song by Eastern Conference Champions. This song seemed to be very meaningful to Ostrander, so much so that he even posted an Instagram picture with Spence after the show with the caption, “So blessed to know this band. So proud to call them friends. They covered an ECC song tonight and I nearly started crying. Thanks for that dudes. Thanks for being the band that you are.” It was easy to see the strong brotherly love between these performers, and that allowed for a seamless transition between acts. The energy stayed up and the vibes kept coming.
“We are going to kill it tonight,” was the opening statement made by Mondo Cozmo and he stayed true to his word. Due to the small nature of the venue, he was able to engage the crowd and even found room to exchange a joke or two with the audience amongst a captivating performance. Mondo Cozmo utilized the up-close and personal atmosphere to its fullest potential in every song. Three songs that stood out in particular were “Shine,” “Higher” and, my personal favorite, “Sixes and Sevens.” “Shine,” a comparatively slower tempo song, was truly sensational. The smooth tone and uplifting vocals draped the crowd in an aura of calm and pleasantness, while building up the energy. “Higher” was in my opinion one of the catchiest songs and definitely a crowd pleaser based on the number of dancers. The energy stayed high in “Sixes and Sevens” and at one point I even found myself joining the headbangers in the front. Mondo Cozmo put on a great show and maximized what little space was available, which made for a truly memorable experience. Given the opportunity, I would watch Mondo Cozmo again, preferably in a small venue like the Casbah.
Overall: Great Experience
Written by Danny Perez