By Rami Abou-Sabe
On an unseasonably warm February night, MUNA treated nearly 500 adoring fans to an inspired, moving performance of their new album About U. Fresh off the February 3rd release, MUNA made their Boston headlining debut last Friday (Feb. 24) at Brighton Music Hall.
Described as a dark pop band, MUNA’s sound is drenched in delicate electronic production, but the group insists their live show function like a “rock band” with a full rhythm section.
Part HAIM, part MS MR, with just enough Fleetwood Mac the band is catchy, intelligent, and downright irresistible. Melodic basslines and driving percussion straight out of the eighties punctuate slick guitar work and three part harmonies that rival the likes of Lennon-McCartney-Harrison.
The band, who self-identify as queer, have become a beacon of light for minority communities. “I Know A Place” is a modern LGBTQ+ anthem, and songs like “Crying On The Bathroom Floor” explore the emotional toll of surviving an abusive relationship.
Aware of music’s growing place in the social and political discourse, the group does not shy away from their role. Opening with lead single “I Know A Place” set an unmistakable tone for the evening; if you don’t feel like you belong, you do belong here, in the arms of MUNA.
Singer Katie Gavin, dressed in the band’s all-black hoodie and a pair of high-heeled boots (purchased from local thrift spot Buffalo Exchange), is an artist confidently finding her voice. Her upper register control is truly impressive, and her command of the stage seems naturally effortless.
Guitarist Josette Maskin delivers breezy licks and much of the band’s onstage energy. Her midset solo showcased an array of pedals and effect boxes yielding one of the most pleasing guitar tones this writer has heard in a long time.
Rounding out the trio, Naomi McPherson provides backing guitars and keys. While all three women contribute vocally, McPherson’s tight-knit harmonies and cerebral mid-show banter stand out.
Perhaps the most powerful moment of the night involved no music at all. Gavin stepped up to the microphone and tenderly asked fans to recognize the love in the room with a moment of silence.
The attentive crowd quickly quieted. Awkward glances darted back and forth. Some audience members choosing to shut their eyes, others ever curious. Gavin looked lost in the moment, full of joy. She broke the silence with an endearing yelp, as laughter spread through the crowd.
It’s rare as a writer to witness a band on the precipice of becoming something much larger. But one thing is clear after their Friday night performance; if MUNA can keep this up, they have a long, successful career ahead.
The band has tapped into growing unrest across this country, while packaging their message into the form of listenable, danceable pop music. Perhaps a talented, socially conscious band of badass women is just what the young people of this country need right now.
Rock on, MUNA. The world will be watching soon enough.