MUNA at Leader Bank Pavilion, 9/27

A slight chill hung in the Seaport air – a sign of an impending changing of the seasons, perhaps. Still, that did not dissuade the massive crowd gathered for that night’s show.

On the bill? Phoebe Bridgers, with MUNA serving as the opening act. It was a perfect pairing – after all, if I had to draw you a venn diagram of Phoebe Bridgers and MUNA fans, the ensuing drawing would be a singular circle. In a year or two, I guarantee you that this lineup will be regarded as legendary.

A little bit about MUNA: I don’t think it would be a stretch to call the band – a three piece composed of members Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Noami McPherson – your favourite pop artist’s favourite pop group. The trio have been making moves since 2016, coming right out of the gates swinging with near-flawless stadium-ready electropop anthems such as “Loudspeaker” and “Winterbreak.” Despite this, they’ve always teetered on the edge of the mainstream, maintaining an undeniably alternative cred all the while. As pop music continues to draw an increasing amount of influence from the alternative, you can be sure that MUNA will be its vanguard.

I don’t think MUNA have a single song in their discography that isn’t a banger – any song would have been the perfect one to start their set with, but Saves The World highlight “Number One Fan” was perhaps the best choice possible. The song’s unreasonably punchy synth line was accentuated by the venue’s huge soundsystem, getting everybody in the crowd out of their seats and dancing. Following that was “Stayaway,” a powerful song about the uphill battle that is fully committing to a break-up. Frontwoman Katie Gavin busted out the power vocals for this one, belting at the top of her lungs as she strutted up and down the stage.

MUNA makes cathartic and deeply meaningful dance music – the type that you can cry to as you scream along. “Crying On the Bathroom Floor,” the next song the band played, is perhaps the greatest example of that ethos, tackling the realities of trying to escape an abusive relationship. The crowd sang along, matching the band word-for-word as they jumped up and down. The band mellowed out for the next few songs, opting to perform the lower-key “Navy Blue,” “Everything,” “Winterbreak,” and the acoustic guitar-driven “Taken.” 

But they turned things all the way back up starting with “Pink Light,” which they then transitioned into the snappy “Loudspeaker.” It’s good that they amped things back up when they did, because they followed “Loudspeaker” up with the unfairly catchy, 90s-inspired “Silk Chiffon” – their most recent release and debut for the Saddest Factory Records label. The crowd was already going ballistic from the very first note (seriously the song is so good oh my god please stop reading this article and listen to it immediately) – you can imagine how they reacted when Phoebe Bridgers took to the stage halfway through the song to sing her part. It was an immensely sweet crossover moment, and only affirmed my strong belief that openers and main acts should always have at least one on-stage moment during a show. MUNA then brought their set to a close with fan favourite “I Know a Place,” a celebration of and testament to the power of queer happiness and pride.

MUNA sort of half-jokingly refer to themselves as the greatest band in the world (go and check their instagram bio), but if their opening set was any indication, it surely won’t be long until they have a proper claim to that title. If there’s one band that you should be keeping your eyes and ears out for, make it MUNA!

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