Friday 6 December 2019

it's gonna be okay, baby: MUNA at club academy

fresh from my latest Existential Crisis - brought on by another exhausting round of job interviews that included my third trip to london in two months - my motivation appears to have returned from war long enough for me to write about muna's incredible gig at manchester's club academy last night. 

in such a tiny venue it was easy to make my way to the barrier where i had what i consider the perfect view; slightly off to the left so i'm not facing anybody head on, as the pressure to be word perfect in front of the person singing some of my favourite songs can get a bit much sometimes. 

after an agonising few minutes, the trio took to the stage to rapturous applause before they'd even played a single note, a true sign of devotion from the loyal crowd who've waited what feels like an eternity to see the band live (me included). 

they launched straight into number one fan, the first single from their second album saves the world, and as always it was a joy to sing every word of this bouncy bop back at singer katie, whose blunt red bob shone under the spotlights, perfectly complementing her red lipstick and equally blinding smile. 

it was followed by stayway, a synth-driven Trauma Banger that hits a little too close to home every time i hear it. the next few songs felt a little unfamiliar until i realised they were from their debut album about u, which i haven't listened to for a shamefully long time. that will definitely change though, as i re-discovered my love for songs such as crying on the bathroom floor, around u and promise

next up were a couple of songs from saves the world that i didn't love when i first listened to the album, but hearing them live changed my mind, and i know i'll be playing navy, never and taken on repeat in the next few days. 

i found myself in my feelings as they played Sad Bops everything and winterbreak before changing gear and encouraging everyone to dance to the next few songs, which included pink light and hands offmy favourites from saves the world - and good news (ya-ya song); yelling the chorus at the top of my lungs was another highlight, especially considering this was one of my least favourite songs before the gig. 

after taking a moment to thank the crowd and declare manchester their "favourite city" of the UK tour, they played loudspeaker - another song with a deeply personal meaning for me - and self-acceptance anthem i know a place, the first song of theirs i fell in love with and played endlessly after seeing them support harry styles back in 2017. it'd been some time since i'd listened to it so i definitely wasn't word perfect, but it provided the perfect moment for some self-reflection as i thought about everything that's happened since then. 

i expected to be an emotional wreck for their final song, as i've cried every time i've dared to listen to it's gonna be okay, babykatie's ode to her younger self - but possibly thanks to my new antidepressants (!) i didn't shed a single tear. this newfound emotional stability still feels strange to me but i realised that this is probably how most people feel on a day-to-day basis. however, it meant that i could fully be ~present~ in the moment and as the lights went up, something strange happened; a sense of calm washed over me, i realised that it is going to be okay. 

a world away from the glitz and glamour of cher's elaborate stage show i saw a few weeks ago, muna's stripped back approach relied heavily on their free-flowing on-stage banter and of course, their blend of euphoric melodies and deeply personal lyrics which filled the tiny venue with hope. as the future becomes more uncertain every day, the healing power of pop music can never be underestimated, and muna's live show is testament to that. 

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