Laura Burhenn was positively giddy to be playing a show in DC, once her hometown and still home to much of her family and friends.
Addressing the attentive crowd at U Street Music Hall on Saturday, the lead singer of The Mynabirds recalled marching in protests during her time in our city, and how such experiences shaped some of her music like the terrifically upbeat “Generals” from the second Mynabirds album of the same name.
With a laugh, Laura acknowledged she sometimes has differences of political opinion with members of her own family, and she expressed an interest in building up what they have in common rather than dwelling on what separates them.
And Laura came equipped with songs to bridge that divide, such as “All My Heart” from a new album Lovers Know, which she’s been touring to support after its release this summer. The song, the first one on the tracklisting of the new album, is a smoldering folk pop number with a R&B backbeat.
Naturally, the song is about loving someone with your full heart, consequences be damned, and Laura said she was inspired by Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne regrette rien” when writing it.
Watch The Mynabirds perform “All My Heart” live for KEXP in Seattle on Sept. 10, 2015:
The Mynabirds aren’t quite The Mynabirds however if Laura isn’t trying to get people out of their chairs and involved in things they are passionate about. And so she also gave us “Wildfire” from the new album — a song that alludes to burning bright for your cause. In an earlier interview (which you can read here), Laura told Parklife DC that she wanted to catch a similar spirit to “Generals” with the number, which proved instantly popular with the audience at U Street Music Hall and across the country.
“I’ll light a candle/You fan the flame,” Laura sings, later proclaiming, “We are wildfire.”
Watch Laura and company sing “Wildfire” for WFUV in New York City on July 16, 2015 (never mind that the onscreen title mislabels the song as “Velveteen” — it’s a good performance!):
The Mynabirds closed their set with “Wildfire” and Laura returned for a three-song encore. She ended the entire show with “Right Place” from The Mynabirds’ first album, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood.
It’s another blues-flavored folk charmer about “every little thing falling into the right place,” and it was a very appropriate selection for her to close out the night. Laura recalled at how one of her first performances with DC band Georgie James occurred at a Blisspop party arranged at the 9:30 Club by U Street Music Hall owner Will Eastman. And in the vein of beginnings and endings, Will was set to perform his final night as DJ of his long-running Bliss dance party at U Street Music Hall later that night after The Mynabirds’ performance.
The Mynabirds continue their tour in support of their new album tonight in Atlanta, and they continue back across the country to Laura’s home in Los Angeles over the next several weeks. With a busy night in DC on Saturday, their show here was criminally underattended. Don’t let your city make that same mistake.