The indie pop group Muna has been on tour since March of this year, hitting dates Down Under before taking the stage at Coachella and around the US, weaving their own headline dates in between opening slots on Taylor Swift’s Eras tour. If the trio—lead singer Katie Gavin, lead guitarist Josette Maskin, and guitarist/producer Naomi McPherson—or their backing band is at all tired from this intense schedule (or the acoustic rehearsals each day after soundcheck for a soon to come Tiny Desk appearance) they didn’t show it for even an instant when they took the stage for two nights at Terminal 5 last week, putting on highly energetic sets with plenty of punk rock swagger and stadium show charisma to spare.
I’ve worked a few of their shows in the past (and indeed, was also working merch for this one and took a break to shoot the first three songs on night two) but this was my first time actually getting to see part of the show; I was totally blown away by the caliber of their stage performances. Aside from that, the vibes throughout the night were awesome, a packed house of LGBTQ family singing their hearts out and basking in the queer joy emanating from stage. Queer joy is something we all need now more than ever as even the most basic of our rights are under attack and are being stripped away on what seems like an almost daily basis. Muna more than filled everyone’s hearts with a healthy dose of happiness and pride. And I’ll tell you for sure, these are always the most fun nights for anyone who works in a venue, the excitement was palpably buzzing in the air from the moment doors opened.
Their set hit a blend of songs from their three albums, pulling most heavily from 2022’s Muna and song after song, this was a night filled with highlights. From the opening electro party romp “What I Want” to the country twang of “Kind of Girl,” the EDM-esque “Runner’s High” and the closer, their latest single, the infectious “One That Got Away,” and every song in between, fans sang along word for word, lost in each moment. They saved their now classic song of hope, “I Know A Place” from their 2017 album About U for the encore and before the festivities were over, the band had just a little bit more to wow the audience with. Fans who waited it out (and were lucky enough to have tickets for day two) were treated to an extra special guest at the very end when Lorde came out to sing with the band on their smash hit queer anthem “Silk Chiffon” (performing Phoebe Bridgers’ verse), the entire venue erupting into screams of absolute delighted abandon.
While I listen to many genres of music, I most often attend/shoot punk shows because of the rush and the high of experiencing bands going all out. It takes a lot for me to be wowed by artists of other genres live because they often don’t match the energy and stage presence I crave as a fan and photographer. Muna smashed every expectation I had, owning the stage in a larger than life way, giving 110% to each and every fan in that room, the love mutual and tangible. This was genuinely the most fun show I’ve seen in a long time and they made me work harder as a photographer than most of said punk bands that I spend so much time with. (I’ve shot IDLES five times, a band that always make you work for it, and Muna matched them pace for pace without question.) When I returned to the merch booth afterwards, I was happily bopping on my toes the rest of the night, a punk nerd pleased as punch at the pop show as smiling fans came to purchase their tees and signed records, fully invested in a band that definitely means the world to them. Not one person there could have asked for a better night.
Scroll down for setlist, fan shot videos, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
Setlist: What I Want, Number One Fan, Solid, Stayaway, Runner’s High, So Special, No Idea, Loose Garment, Winterbreak, Kind of Girl (with Lou Roy), Taken, Around U, Pink Light, Crying on the Bathroom Floor, Home by Now, Anything but Me, One That Got Away Encore: I Know a Place, Silk Chiffon (with Lorde)