Although the band was formed in 2013, MUNA’s popularity has surged in the past few years. With the relentless touring of its unapologetically queer discography and record deal with Phoebe Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records, the 9-year-old band has been thrust into the spotlight — and for good reason.
As the first opener on Kacey Musgraves’ Star Crossed: Unveiled Tour at the Oakland Coliseum Feb. 19, MUNA’s members proved they are seasoned professionals at getting a crowd hyped up. This is the eighth tour they’ve supported, most recently opening for Phoebe Bridgers’ Reunion Tour in 2021, and this experienced trio excels at kicking off the night with a bang.
With lead vocals by Katie Gavin and guitarists Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, MUNA’s stage presence and energy was entirely unmatched as it began its opening set. Although the band’s set was a mere six songs, MUNA shocked with sending pure electricity into the crowd with every beat. From playing “I Know a Place” from its 2017 album About U to their irresistible newest sensation “Silk Chiffon,” MUNA’s song choices showed the full versatility of its discography.
Whether performing a cheery pop ballad or an acoustic slow-tempo song, the band’s entire set sounded like a jam session between best friends at a party in the best way possible, taking the audience along for a thrilling ride. The palpable chemistry between the band members — no doubt because of the members’ close camaraderie developed through nine years together — clearly shone through as each band member energetically jumped up and down throughout the set. The minimal choreography the band employed was incredibly effective, with MUNA’s timely points and poses being few and far between, but still striking. The group’s synchronization at the hard-hitting bridge of its hit “Stayaway” was particularly immaculate.
Working together seamlessly in the opening act, each member of MUNA proved they’re capable of not only hyping the audience up but also keeping energy levels consistently high. Gavin’s unbelievably powerful voice easily filled Oakland Coliseum, which boomed with their vocal prowess in every note. Both Maskin and McPherson excelled at rocking out on the guitar with both ease and vigor. Staying pumped up throughout their set seemingly without taking a breath, the band’s tenacity demonstrated that MUNA can handle a venue of any size.
A clear highlight of the band’s set was its performance of unreleased track “Kind of Girl,” which Gavin explained is “about believing you can change for the better.” Gavin also stated that they chose to play the track as it was the “country song of the record,” making it ideal for Musgraves’ country-loving audience. With heartfelt lyrics about taking personal responsibility such as “I am the kind of girl who owns up to my faults,” MUNA’s members cemented their roots as brilliant lyricists who champion themes of self-love and acceptance. This small taste of their upcoming record undoubtedly shows that MUNA’s best songs are yet to come.
The buoyant closer “Silk Chiffon,” however, was the number where MUNA shone brightest. The popular collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers encapsulates the group’s core through its promotion of queer joy, love and positivity, which were all embedded in the heart of MUNA’s sparkly set.
Those who didn’t know MUNA before their performance at Oakland Coliseum will surely remember the band for its electric stage presence and true love for performing. Whether it be as a headliner or another opening act, MUNA surely has a dazzling future ahead.