Muna at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
After breaking into an impromptu jam session at a house party sometime in 2013, Los Angeles trio Muna have done a lot in just a few years. They released their debut album About U, performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and played at Lollapalooza and SXSW. Consisting of multi-instrumentalists Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, their music is a toe-tapping melodic blend of 80s pop, indie, punk and RnB.
Headlining at the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen in Shoreditch, Muna opened with I Know a Place, a synth-heavy anthem envisioning a safe haven for the LGBTQ community. Tracks like So Special and Promise prove that Muna can write and perform genuinely beautiful ambient music. It also helps that they’re a lively and engaging band to watch, and bring a self-deprecating and sincere charisma to the stage. Even when the tempo slowed down to an 80s-school dance pace on If U Love Me Now, they connected with the audience so well that everyone was still engaged.
But underneath their music, they’ve woven lyrics centring on raw personal pain and empowerment. Loudspeaker is about reclaiming power from abuse. Crying on the Bathroom Floor is about being in a tumultuous and abusive relationship. Some songs occasionally veer into emo territory, but overall their lyrics have enough wit and maturity to retain a sense of honesty.
Even their political and social commentary doesn’t come across as forced. Fundamentally, their music and performances promote a message of racial, gender and sexual equality. Outside of music, the band are politically active – they frequently protest Trump’s presidency and recently attended the Women’s March. Their lyrics even omit gender pronouns to resonate with listeners regardless of identity. Although their Hoxton gig shied away from an overt political stance, the LA trio still emphatically repeated their tone of inclusivity throughout the night.
This isn’t to say that watching a Muna performance is like attending a political march or a kumbaya woo circle. They are definitely gifted, polished and enthusiastic performers who can rock the house. But there were quite a few playful moments at the Hoxton: their tongue-in-cheek cover of Evanescence’s Bring Me to Life received a huge reception.
They’re still climbing the ladder, but backed by their strong album About U and some brilliant performances, hopefully Muna will become a steady fixture of the pop world.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information about Muna and future events visit here.
Watch the video for I Know a Place here: