The LA-grown, synth-pop trio bring their Saves The World tour to a tiny Leeds pub.
‘Saves The World’ was one of my favourite albums of 2019. MUNA continued down the road of the existential, dark synth-pop they do so well - but this time, dug even deeper into the self and supercharged every hook.
At the end of the year, the trio undertook a small UK tour to promote the album, hitting Leeds on December 8th. They played the iconic Brudenell Social Club, which has hosted the likes of HAIM, Two Door Cinema Club, St. Vincent, The War on Drugs and Grimes over the years. The venue is an earthy local favourite, having been shortlisted for multiple awards since being established in 1913. Honestly, it felt a little strange seeing a band with MUNA’s credentials play a literal back-room of a pub (which really hit me when I was stood in a queue that snaked around the toilets), but the intimacy and atmosphere were unmatched.
Replying to someone who tweeted them asking if they should go solo to a show, MUNA insisted upon it, because the fans “are sweethearts, and only ever mean to us”. And they weren’t kidding - the fans really are incredible. I was greeted by so many new, smiling faces while waiting in line, all keen to make friends. Two girls next to me - who didn’t even know each other - had both flown from the Netherlands exclusively for this show. Their first time seeing the band, on both counts. We all stood together during the show, and it was crazily endearing watching their faces light up. “Was it worth flying all this way for?”, I asked them both afterwards. Both out of words, and obviously a little choked up, they just nodded. So worth it. In this tiny little adjoining room in a social club, MUNA built a safehaven for their listeners that night.
Gigs in which you can physically feel a community presence are few and far between, but when they come around - they’re so special (I did everything within my power *not* to title-caps those words, thank you). Gigs where the artist makes you forget your surroundings, and play like they’re fit for a far FAR bigger room (and do it well) are also rare. MUNA nailed both experiences with such captivating, delirious energy, nearly either bounding off the undersized stage, or straight into each other, as they shot grins out into the crowd, almost in disbelief. They took moments to express their gratitude - “We haven’t played like that for a long, long time” - and rightfully, to plug the merch too. They sold waterbottles that say “Get enough sleep and drink enough water”, which is pretty dope.
I also want to stress that I don’t think I have ever, ever been to a show so hot. Even MUNA, probably all too familiar with California heat, were suffering. It may have been December, but everybody left covered in sweat, stepping out of the proverbial roasting tray and into the bitter North West rain. An accidental moment of cinematic brilliance, soundtracked by MUNA.
Playing a generous share of their new hits, old favourites, upbeat bops and balladry made for the best kind of show: one in which you could dance with no consequence, but also pause to feel the full gravity of Katie Gavin’s words. It was a night that allowed for introspective multitudes, all while stood alongside friends; the very authors of those questions posing them again with great prowess. MUNA really know how to play an arena show in a small room, and how to celebrate the family they’ve empowered.