SPACE // Evanston, IL // September 10, 2021
Queer electro-pop sounds in a tiny venue at nearly midnight? I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night.
Following a whirlwind day at Pitchfork, I drove north to Evanston, a town just on the outskirts of Chicago, to see MUNA play an intimate show at SPACE. “We’ll consider this a hometown show!” said singer Katie Gavin, who was born and raised in Evanston before moving to California. MUNA have been playing shows and making hits since 2013, but their popularity has skyrocketed lately thanks to signing on with Phoebe Bridgers’ record company, Dead Oceans. Now, they’re bigger than ever and will soon be joining King Princess and Casey Musgraves on tour in arenas and theatres across the country. For the die-hard fans who’d been waiting outside the venue since noon, an intimate MUNA show in a small venue that held under 400 people was a dream come true.
As Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson came onstage, the applause in the room was so loud you’d swear you were in a stadium. The trio had enormous energy from the first note they played to their departure from the room. MUNA started the night with “Number One Fan”, a delightful tongue-in-cheek take on fame and relationships. Fans screamed the lyrics to every single song MUNA played, including “Winterbreak”, a song that Katie Gavin said was partially written in an Evanston parking garage.
MUNA played “Silk Chiffon” sans Phoebe Bridgers, but Naomi McPherson played Bridgers’ solo beautifully. It’s a shame Bridgers couldn’t be there, as she was playing Pitchfork that night just a few miles away, but the song does not rely on Bridgers’ vocals; it’s a gorgeous track regardless. Gavin, Maskin, and McPherson looked completely at home on such a small stage, even more so than I’ve seen on large festival stages. MUNA couldn’t have asked for a better crowd for their “hometown” show, and in turn, fans were treated to a rare, personal show that will likely never happen again. MUNA are only going to get bigger and more popular from here, and this small show will be a staple for fans for years to come.