Liveshot: MUNA checks into South Congress Hotel with intimate performance

Sage Dunlap, Life & Arts Reporter

While the bright sun set on Austin’s beloved South Congress Hotel patio, fans cheered as the hit pop trio MUNA took to the stage March 18 with their electric guitars, sunglasses and a blow-up horse. 

As the first few notes of self-love anthem “Number One Fan” rippled off an electric guitar, hotel guests peered out their windows, catching the attention of curious passersby who flooded into the venue. Immediately, the energy radiating from the stage jolted the crowd, leaving audience members shouting and jumping along to the infectious beat.  

Julius Shieh/The Daily Texan

Surrounded on three sides by a concrete hotel exterior, lead singer Katie Gavin’s powerhouse vocals bounced from wall to wall, proving the hotel patio to be a surprisingly electric spot for live music. With each track, Gavin left the crowd reeling from impressive belting, while her fellow members Naomi McPherson and Josette Maskin hypnotized the audience with guitar riffs, which cascaded through the venue like lightning strikes.

The trio sang many songs old and new, recalling fan-favorites such as the grungy, heartbreaking “Stay Away” and the colorful pop track “Pink Light,” which made almost every audience member sing at the top of their lungs. Catering to the largely Texan audience, Gavin grabbed an acoustic guitar, and the group sang multiple country-inspired tracks, such as the acoustic ballad “Taken,” while the dancing crowd bounced a blow-up horse named Stacy through the air.

Despite a myriad of breathtaking instrumentals, onstage high-kicks and a finale performance of the group’s queer love celebration “Silk Chiffon,” the most impactful moment of the set took place in between songs. On multiple occasions, group members opened up to the crowd with teary-eyed confessions of gratitude and joy, making the already intimate show feel even more personal. The three reflected on MUNA’s exponential success over the past two years and their previous SXSW performance.

 “Not everyone gets the chance to get better at what they love to do, so we’re very grateful,” Gavin said.