MUNA commands the crowd during second sold-out night at 9:30 Club

Media Credit: Madi Girault I Photographer

As bright blue lights flashed on stage, MUNA opened their set with their hit track “What I Want,” a fun-loving, energetic anthem about abandoning long-standing societal restrictions.

Indie pop three-member band MUNA brought their North American tour to the 9:30 Club Monday, delivering a dynamic and personal performance that marked the group’s second sold-out show at the venue within a week.

The sold-out crowd, many of them devoted fans who saw MUNA on the same tour last week, created the optimal high-energy setting for the band to perform songs from their third self-titled album “MUNA” as well as fan favorites from their sophomore effort and their debut album. Although MUNA has been on the music scene since 2016, the band reached unprecedented success last year with their viral hit “Silk Chiffon,” which amassed over 31 million streams on Spotify featuring the widely adored Phoebe Bridgers.

As bright blue lights flashed on stage, MUNA opened their set with their hit track “What I Want,” a fun-loving, energetic anthem about abandoning long-standing societal restrictions. The song sent a visceral reaction through the crowd – evidently, “What I Want” was the right choice as an opening song. The band continued with “Number One Fan,” the lead single from their sophomore album, “Saves The World.” The crowd expectedly sang along to every word of the song with lines like “I would give my life just to hold your hand” – an ode to the fan culture playing out below the stage.

After singing the 80s-inspired synth-pop track “Solid,” lead singer and co-producer Katie Gavin greeted and thanked the crowd, acknowledging many familiar faces from the band’s first show in D.C. last Tuesday. She then transitioned into “Stayaway,” followed by the slower “Runner’s High” and “No Idea,” relaxing the ecstatic crowd.

One of the most memorable moments of the concert came when the band played their 2019 track “Pink Light.” Fans all around the crowd passed out bright pink cardstock squares for them to hold over their phone flashlights when Gavin reaches the lyrics “But there’s a pink light in my apartment.” The fans did just that, creating a pink hue around an already lit-up stage, matching its shade. The moment showcased the powerful sense of community created by unapologetic, honest musicians, like the members of MUNA, who develop genuine connections with their fans.

After the song concluded, an emotional and surprised Gavin said “That’s never happened to us before,” in reference to the stunning pink display of light from the crowd. Before she could elaborate, a fan in the front row handed her a gold paper crown that Gavin placed atop her head. “We love you and we wouldn’t be doing this without you,” Gavin affectionately told the crowd.

She transitioned into the ballad “Loose Garment” – which she described to the audience as representing “having a really tender relationship with those moments of suffering” – before playing “If U Love Me Now,” one of the band’s very first songs, as the stage lights radiated a deep purple hue.

Pulling out an acoustic guitar, Gavin introduced the country-inspired introspective ballad “Kind of Girl” as the orange stage lights glowed above her, matching her vibrant red hair.

“This is a song that we wrote about learning to be really conscious about the words we use to describe ourselves,” Gavin said, before dedicating the song to queer people in the audience.

MUNA continued the ballad section of their set with “Taken,” an emotional song about falling for someone who is already in a relationship and struggling with self-worth. Slowly transitioning to more upbeat songs for the final third of the show, Gavin happily danced and twirled around the stage to “Home By Now,” a fan favorite from their self-titled album featuring synth-pop melodies.

One of the most lively and dynamic moments of the entire show came during the next two-song run of MUNA’s optimistic breakup anthem “Anything But Me” followed by a cover of  The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.” The fiery and passionate crowd screamed both at the top of their lungs, sending the club to a new level of euphoria. Gavin put on the fan’s paper crown again for the latter track but danced so hard that it flew off by the song’s second chorus. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t miss a beat.

After one of the most enthusiastic and impassioned live performances I have witnessed, MUNA introduced their hit song from their debut album, “I Know A Place,” which Gavin said was one of the first songs they wrote together as a band. She told the crowd the track was inspired by “hopeful rage that they could find a place to express themselves.” She elaborated that while this struggle has persisted in many ways since the band wrote the song, they are grateful to their fans for creating a space for them.

After “I Know A Place,” the band seemingly left the stage in a hurry, causing some confusion among the crowd. After fans excitedly chanted “MUNA” for about a minute, the group came back on stage to perform a two-song encore. With acoustic guitars, the band played “Shooting Star,” the optimistic final track on their third album, as beams of light glimmered across the audience, projected from the mirror ball hanging over the stage.

Finally, MUNA played the song every member of the audience had been awaiting since they arrived on stage – “Silk Chiffon.” Though Bridgers was not present to sing her verse, keyboard and electric guitar player Naomi McPherson took over with vocals, amassing boisterous cheers from the crowd. The upbeat, energetic track was the necessary culmination to their 17-song setlist, and the pure joy coursing through the audience was contagious, lasting even after the attendees began to leave the venue.

The District clearly has an affinity for MUNA. With an electrifying and dynamic performance, the band managed to foster a personal connection with every member of the audience while simultaneously commanding the crowd as one entity. MUNA is undoubtedly coming into their true form as a group, with each member visibly more confident than ever. Their third album is certainly aptly titled – this is the most “MUNA” the band has ever felt.

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