It was hard not to feel happy after MisterWives played in Columbus.
The band’s songs inherently make you feel good, and it’s easy to jump around to the pop beats. It’s just happy music.
When the six members came out to “Our Own House,” the song their tour was named after, it seemed like every head was nodding at the Saturday night show.
The group put on a good performance, but it was MisterWives’ first headlining tour and in some ways, it showed.
There were benefits of it being the band’s first top-tier tour. It seemed that the band members were genuinely grateful to be performing, and between songs they often expressed their gratitude to the fans.
At one point early in the set, the drummer, Etienne Bowler, even got up from his drum set to come to the main mic to tell the audience how surreal it felt to performing.
But there were also downsides to it being such a big, early tour for MisterWives.
There were parts of the show that were obviously pre-planned and at times felt a bit forced. The guitarist, Marc Campbell, and the bassist, William Hehir, had moments where they’d synchronize their movements to match the drum beats or the feeling of the song.
Sure a choreographed shoulder movement here and there are fine, but it felt a little corny. It was a nice visual effect, but a little too distracting.
That forced feeling was expounded even more when the main vocalist, Mandy Lee, counted off and the entire band began leg-kicking in time together, which felt more like a Rockettes audition than a well-thought out performance gesture.
Lee’s vocals were incredible, though, and she was energetic the whole show. Campbell, Hehir and Bowler echoed that energy and if it would have stopped there, it would have been great.
But it didn’t. Because it’s not a four-person band that tours with MisterWives.
In fact, it’s not even a four-person band at all, even though it feels like it.
There are five members in the band normally, and more horns brought in for some songs. For the tour, there was one additional member on saxophone.
It’s not the saxophone player’s fault that he isn’t officially part of the band, but the he felt at times a bit out of place — as if he had just wandered away from an O.A.R. audition and found MisterWives outside and thought “sure, this works.”
The fifth member of the band (an official member, not just a touring one like the saxophonist) goes by Dr. Blum and played keys, trumpet and accordion throughout the show, but also seemed a bit out of place.
He was probably the most musically talented of the group, often playing keys with one hand and trumpet with the other, but he just felt a little awkward on stage.
The way Blum just slightly missed the mark sort of summed up the show. His trumpet playing wasn’t highlighted until the end of the show, during the encore, which was a shame because it was so good.
The band also saved its most well-known number, “Reflections,” for second-to-last, which was normal, but waited until its encore to really burst out of its shell. It wasn’t until then that the band members really showed off how good they were at playing a song that started out as a cover of “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
It was a well-done show, but just fell short of being great. I’ll still keep my eye on MisterWives, though. A few awkward movements and missed opportunities are only room to keep growing.