Right from the get-go, you can tell Muna loves their fans as much their fans love them. The band made up of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson has been amassing a devoted fanbase for a few years now and this new peak was a sight to behold. Seriously, I was expecting a long line to get into the venue and was shocked to have passed through Salt Shed’s fairgrounds with ease. However once inside it became clear: everyone got here VERY early and were queuing inside for merch. Normally I wouldn’t note something like that but this had to be one of the biggest merch lines I’ve ever seen. Muna’s fans are truly enamored with the trio, selling out the Salt Shed with ease. That evening alongside Nova Twins, Muna gave the crowd a show overflowing with love all around.
If the crowd needed any warming up before the night’s main event, English duo Nova Twins‘ opening set made sure that they were raring to go with their insanely entertaining set. There was not a second wasted as vocalist/guitarist Amy Love and bassist Georgia South gave in to their all-out rock madness. There is of course a heaping dash of punk rock vibes spread throughout their songs like “Antagonist” and “Fire and Ice,” which only made the experience all the more enjoyable. The pair’s onstage presence matched their music incredibly well as they jammed out with such a confident and expressive attitude. They were just beaming with energy and the crowd totally ate it up. Especially when the suggest of a twerk pit (which yes, is a mosh pit but with twerking) by Love was eagerly initiated by the crowd.
As the intro of “What I Want” brought out Muna one by one as each member got a moment in the spotlight before the song fully kicked in, a murmur started throughout the crowd. Katie Gavin stopped the song with no hesitation and pointed out into the crowd, asking security to check on a fan who had passed out. As soon as things seemed to have been taken care of, Gavin suggested rewinding the show and starting over. And so with an almost literal rewinding from Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson as they mimed their moves in reverse as the lights went down again, Muna restarted the show and were off on an amazing set!
The audience was in a fervor for the rest of the show as they sang practically every song back to the band. “Number One Fan,” obviously a fan favorite song, took the second spot of the night and it was only a taste of what was to come. The setlist was such a perfect synthesis of the band, letting the fans glow in their favorite tracks and revel in some deep cuts like “Loose Garment” and “Solid” as if they were leading singles. Honestly with this being a pseudo hometown show thanks to Gavin’s Evanston roots, I should have expected nothing less.
Beyond the amazing music, Muna felt like an open book throughout the night. Between songs they were as comfortable with the crowd as they are with one another onstage. Gavin detailed how “Around U” was about her breakup with McPherson, giving the song a little more heft that most of the fans already knew. “Kind of Girl” was dedicated to the trans community, noting the more targeted struggles they have to endure.
Muna reserved two of their best-known tracks for the encore. “I Know Place,” their lead single off their second album, About U, was met with a riotous response from the crowd. It’s an undeniable anthem for their fans and community, embraced wholeheartedly as they belted out the track’s chorus. Their final song, “Silk Chiffon,” saw the Nova Twins return to the stage and had the entire crowd melting to Muna’s most recent unbridled queer anthem. It was a perfect end to a show full of perfect moments.
All photos by Julian Ramirez.