Getting lost in the world of MUNA and Lo Moon at The Turf Club

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On Friday night, St. Paul was graced by the presence of two Los Angeles based bands that have been generating an impressive amount of buzz over the past couple months – MUNA and Lo Moon. Friday night’s performance showed that both of these bands are more than deserving of the buzz they’ve been garnering. Both Lo Moon and Muna put on thoughtful and polished sets at the iconic Turf Club – a venue that has played host to many great bands early in their careers. From the reception that Lo Moon and MUNA received at the Turf Club last night, it seems that both bands have plenty more ahead, and we certainly hope it’s not their last time in the Twin Cities.

Opening the evening was Lo Moon, a band that has remained rather elusive over the past few months. In the age of “lets put every song we’ve ever recorded on Souncloud,” Lo Moon has taken a different approach. Lo Moon has kept a bit of a low profile which has really built a sense of anticipation around these guys, really leaving us to wonder what to expect from this trio. Lo Moon is made up of Matt Lowell, Crisanta Baker and Sam Stewart and who are supported by Sterlin Laws on drums for their live sets. Lo Moon first grabbed the attention of the blogosphere with the release of their single Loveless last fall. This is the only song they have on the internet so I wasn’t totally sure what to expect going into their set. However, it was clear that Lo Moon will not be a flash in the pan band. Their set on Friday was roughy 40 minutes, and each song catchier and hookier than the next.

This anticipation and air of mystery around Lo Moon really made for an awesome set. Again, no one, myself included, really knew what to expect from Lo Moon other than what we’ve heard on Loveless. I was absolutely blown away with Lo Moon, and I think I was in good company too. From the top to the bottom of their set, every single song left me wanting more in the best possible way. There is no shortage of talent in this band either – during their set frontman Matt Lowell rotated between guitar, vocals and synth, Crisanta Baker on backing vocals, guitar, bass and keys and Sam Stewart rotating between guitars as well. The result of the multi-talented Lo Moon, paired with a thoughtfulness that only comes from years of experience is dreamy, melodic, cinematic-esque tracks you can get lost in. Lo Moon, while completely unique, reminded me of bands such as Local Natives, The Temper Trap or Sigur Ros. They played a handful of songs off their yet to be released album. A standout from the set was Real Love, which has the makings of a radio hit.

This was Lo Moon’s first time in Minneapolis according to frontman Matt Lowell, “well I’ve been to Minnesota before, but this is Lo Moon’s first time in Minnesota,” he joked. They absolutely blew the Turf Club away on Friday night and fingers crossed that we’ll see Lo Moon back in the Twin Cities very soon.

MUNA kicked off their set right after 10:00 pm with an energy and poise I haven’t seen in a while. MUNA, much like Lo Moon, has been germinating buzz from all corners of the Twittersphere over the past year or so for not only their unique sound (thanks to lead singer Katie Gavin’s otherwordly vocals), but also for the message of acceptance their music carries. MUNA is a band that is extremely vocal about supporting the progressive agenda, and have not shyed away from addressing both political and social topics in their music, with their own personal narrative sprinkled in. They’ve really become a big voice in the queer community. I overheard some chatter at the bar that MUNA willl not play a show unless the venue agrees to make the bathrooms gender neutral. Talk about practicing what you preach. It’s not doubt that MUNA brings that message of hope and acceptance to their live set, but looking around the Turf Club, it was more than just straight women or gay men millennials, but it was people of all backgrounds, all walks of life, all ages, which shows that MUNA’s music is really crossing barriers and boundaries.

MUNA kicked off their set with the anthemic I Know A Place. Hearing MUNA play this song live, you can’t help but want to live in the world they sing about. “ I know a place we can run, where everyone gonna lay down their weapon, don’t be afraid of love and affection.” The world that MUNA sings about is really the environment that they seem to create at their live shows. From the gender neutral bathrooms to leader singer Katie Gavin taking the time to lavish on gratitude and appreciation on the crowd for their continued support, it really was a unique atmosphere at their live show that I have’t really experienced anywhere else.

Gavin along with Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, really seem to have an astute understanding of their fans, the crowd and just an awareness that their music is very to a lot of people. Being a voice for a community of people that for so long have not had a voice, is not a role that MUNA takes lightly. “I can always tell when there are people in the room who need that song. And have been using that song. I just like feel it. I feel you,” Gavin said after Winterbreak, a song which is essentially a relationship that you know will never work out, but are always willing to give it one more chance.

MUNA’s set gave me chills, not only was it beautiful, thoughtful and relevant, it was fun. Gavin, Maskin and McPherson have a unique chemistry on stage, along with their supporting musician. The music they are making and the work they are doing is important and necessary, more than ever, but they also just have fun. They play with a ferocity as if this show could be their last, an intensity that you don’t see from many bands. MUNA’s set also featured, Feel U, Everything, After and Loudspeaker, all off of their debut album About You. MUNA continues their tour and has been teasing European dates. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more from MUNA after Friday night.

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