by Dan Emmons
On a Wednesday night you wouldn’t think to see a packed crowd out for a band that plays Philly regularly. However, Gunner’s Run (the rock and roll bar of the Piazza) had a surprising turn out. There were drinks flowing, fueling a lively crowd who were getting down to one very special up-and-coming band. That band didn’t have an opening act, nor did they have the need for one. That band is Mo Lowda and the Humble.
Mo Lowda is very difficult to classify and put into a genre. They have similarities to bands like Kings of Leon, Airborne Toxic Event, and Incubus, but their song structure and composition go so much deeper. They have the vocals to make your girlfriend’s heart melt, provided by Jordan Caiola, the groove to keep you dancing from bassist Nate Matulis and change more than your underwear courtesy of drumming phenom Shane Woods. Mo Lowda has absolutely mesmerizing rhythms combined with perfectly placed reverb that take you into a trance, only as long as they want to keep you there, and before you know it, you are hit in the face with a wall of sound.
Jordan hunched over the mic with eyes closed like he is singing to a loved one, Shane slammed the cymbals in rhythmic mastery and when Nate got moving the crowd followed suit.
Playing two 40 minute sets would be difficult for any band, but they had the catalog to do it. The thing that really shocked me was in their break between sets, no one left. These guys have a serious following.
The bassist took a few seconds to talk with me in between sets. I asked him for help describing Mo Lowda and the Humble. His responses were both comical but deep.
To elaborate on the band members he told me, “It’s more louder, and it’s humble, it’s awesome songwriting, jazz funk bass, and a progressive drummer who loves to sit back in the pocket.” Nate told me that when writing he tries to “slow down time” through the articulation and dynamics of each note, while adding, “If it doesn’t make a moment for me, then it doesn’t make a moment for you.”
Our conversation went over an assortment of analogies to describe the band, but my absolute favorite was when Nate got on the subject of building a song, “the groove is like planting a seed, every note is a leaf, the verse grows into a branch, and eventually, over time, you get a beautiful solid structure.” He continued on his visual representation to music by saying that with each song in their set, they want to keep the audience guessing, “It’s like you walk into a room. After you become acquainted with the room, the door locks, the lights go out and you fall through a trap door. Its like…where am I now?”
He would later add that the band never does much thinking on stage, they just play. That is something that comes with years of practice and a solid connection amongst band members. To be as young as they are, as fluent as they are, and have such a catalog like they do, is an incredible testament to the talent in Mo Lowda and the Humble. Not just Philly, but the nation needs to keep an eye (and ear) on these guys. Mo Lowda and The Humble could be the next band out of Philly, and are the least limited by genre. They are the band to watch for in 2013.
For a free download of their EP, check out Mo Lowda and The Humble’s bandcamp. New album “Curse the Weather” to be releases May 2013