The Mynabirds Sell Out

June 25th, 2012

The Mynabirds – Mercury Lounge – June 22, 2012

The Mynabirds, led by Laura Burhenn, hit the stage of a sold-out Mercury Lounge a little after midnight on Friday/Saturday. The group, from Omaha, Neb., played most of their rollicking and politically charged sophomore album, Generals. More headdress than Davy Crockett, Burhenn’s head was adorned with a fox hat as the set began with “Karma Debt” and “Wolf Mother,” the disc’s first and second tracks. Next, “an oldie,” “Let the Record Go,” had fans singing along. Continuing with songs off debut album What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, the Mynabirds grooved into “Give It Time.”

Throughout the night, Burhenn beckoned the audience to dance along to tunes like “Radiator Sister,” “Disaster” and “Diasarm.” The latter came at the tail end of the set when the crowd was fully prepared to shimmy and clap along. Burhenn polled the audience for native New Yorkers versus small-town folks. The singer proudly declared she was from a small town and spoke about some of the narrow-minded people she grew up with calling her weirdo and lesbian. To that, she dedicated “Mightier Than the Sword” to all her fellow small-town buds. The band then turned down “classics lane,” as Burhenn put it, playing “Ways of Looking,” “What We Gained in the Fire” and “Numbers Don’t Lie.”

Like a general herself, Burhenn instructed the ladies and gents on the call and response portion for “Generals.” “And all my sisters, YEAH! What you want? LOVE!/ And all my brothers, YEAH! What you got? LOVE!” Although the crowd was a little lukewarm to start, a mention of whiskey incited screams. “Get these people some shots and scream like the revolution is made of whiskey,” quipped Burhenn. Since there wasn’t room to exit the stage, the Mynabirds played on, doing “Body of Work” and then, with Burhenn’s fox hat back on and Sean Bones and crew with carrots in hand, concluding the set with the upbeat song to send the crowd off into the night. —Sharlene Chiu