Born and raised just a stone’s throw across Oakland Bay, mxmtoon hit the stage at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on May 17 – a hometown show fulfilling a hometown dream.
With her family nestled on the balcony above, mxmtoon recalled watching indie singer Rex Orange County from across the stage she now graced. An inspired and effectively realized dream, mxmtoon glided onto the stage with the ease and comfort of someone at home in body (literally) and in mind – the latter being a staple of his artistry and his artistic talent.
Effortlessly balancing old and new, the singer’s set covered her entire discography of pop anthems and heartaches. Six days before the release of his second studio album risingmxmtoon also gave clues to the coming-of-age record by playing the sunny daydreams found in “learning to love you” and “florida.”
A throwback to the early parts of this century and the likes of Avril Lavigne, alt-indie opener chloe moriondo giddily greeted the night silhouetted by a multitude of streaked white and lilac strobes. Sporting a bleached Betty Boop bucket hat, Moriondo arrived dressed in ripped denim shorts and a long-sleeved fishnet crop top. She sang in her brassy acoustic tenor through the headbanging “Rly Don’t Care” and the agonizing tracks “I Eat Boys” and “GIRL ON TV.”
A cover of the Cranberries’ nostalgic ballad “Linger” rounded out Moriondo’s half-hour set. The singer’s rendition oozed like whiskey – laced with nostalgia and enriched with punk twang. Much like its main act counterpart, moriondo’s performance and music is a display of aging innocence without the guilty immaturity.
In a summery white mesh dress adorned with sequined butterflies, mxmtoon debuted in a shower of blue and pink lights, skating briskly alongside comforts new and old. Recently released opening singles “frown” and “sad disco” previewed the singer’s latest wave of feel-good tracks and a greater departure from stripped-down solo acts towards more full, upbeat bop ensembles. .
Encased in the softness of yellow spotlights, mxmtoon’s “unsaid words” resonated in the authentic and vulnerable storytelling that has long anchored and navigated the singer’s career. Through an evergreen lens of personal growth and self-compassion, mxmtoon’s music poignantly waxes poetic tales of adolescence and gently connects themes of identity, sexuality and gender.
“Home is where the fags are,” the singer joked to fans who shrugged before her sweet, unyielding mantra of “no fakes.”
Mxmtoon retreated further to his home later that night. Jokes about her reputation as an “emo ukulele girl,” the artist doubled down with a laugh, saying, “So emo I will.” In an intimate trio of throwbacks including “feelings are fatal” and “I want to chet,” mxmtoon put the night on hold for a perfectly simple, scratchy reprieve.
Mxmtoon powered transcendentally upward in the final leg of their set. Ripe under soft pastel neons, his songs “coming of age” and “prom dress” signed off with the wonders and whims of navigating and tampering with the prescriptive invincibility of childhood.
Online and in concert, mxmtoon trades bits of life, banter, and “kills” with their fans, slipping into conversation and dry sarcasm with obvious and deserved comfort. Mxmtoon reflects its fanbase, and its fanbase reflects it – making its gigs best seen as reunions with old friends.
Wholesome and encouraging even to the less knowledgeable, mxmtoon is easy to like and easier to like. “You all inspire me to be as true to myself as possible, every day,” she praised the crowd at one point on the show.
From stage entrance to stage exit, mxmtoon lives in the spotlight with miles of growth in the rearview mirror and miles to come. What is his secret? She lives a career and a life the only way she knows how — by being herself unapologetically.
Contact Lisi Ludwig at [email protected].