Singer/songwriter and The Mynabirds frontwoman Laura Burhenn had her snakeskin boots on, ready for stomping on the black and white chevron-painted stomp box under her feet. She and backup vocalist Rebecca Marie Miller stomped in unison rhythm for their whole set at Mercury Lounge this past weekend, making it as percussive as possible. Miller also had a bag of percussion tricks ready to go, and had her drumsticks tucked into her black boots for easy access. Burhenn sported a fox hat, similar to the wolf headdress she wears in her Spirit Animal photos, for the first couple songs before she ripped it off and laid it on top of the bass amp.
Burhenn, formerly of the DC-based duo Georgie James, has been crafting songs as The Mynabirds since 2009 as a way to voice her political frustration. Her lyrics serve as a voice of humanity and equality in a world of judgment and discrimination, and her music is the foot-stomping rally for modern peaceful revolutionaries. Burhenn & Co. strike a balance that straddles a line of good-natured ferocity, and their plethora of percussive instruments seve to really bang the message all the way home. Miller made use of just about everything from sleigh bells to finger cymbals to electronic drum pads; not to mention some seriously strong backing vocals. She even pulled out a trumpet at one point, kind of like that moment in The Jerk when Bernadette Peters just pulls a trumpet out of nowhere during “You Belong to Me.” Ok, maybe not exactly like that, but it was still like, ok what else is she going to bust out? Her and Burhenn were both positioned to straddle the middle of the stage, with Burhenn’s keyboard in between them. She sang and played at the same time, switching between keys and blue wooden sticks, sticking mostly with the upbeat songs for the crowd to dance to.
They slowed the tempo down for “Fallen Doves,” the b-side off their Generals 7 inch single, and then followed that up with the a-side, “Generals,” that almost everyone in attendance was familiar with as the band’s biggest hit to date. I actually expected a little more stomping on that song, but Laura focused more on the words and the message, and the energy seemed to reach it’s peak of the night. They ended on the inspirational second album single “Body of Work,” which is currently available for free download on their site.
The Mynabirds are done with their current tour leg, but still have more shows coming up in October-November then they have percussion instruments, swooping south from Canada and back up again. Follow their journey on Facebook, and stream more songs from GENERALS through Soundcloud.