As far as features go, few can boast the wealth of talent on Mura Masa’s self-titled debut album. The teen, whose music once lived between his bedroom and Soundcloud, has now become one of the hottest producers around, massive artists into his studio, as well as an admirer in Kendrick Lamar. Tonight at O2 Brixton Academy it’s only these lack of guests that stutter this rare appearance from the 21-year-old producer.
One person who is here is the firey Bonzai, lending her vocals early on in ‘Nuggets’, before Masa goes solo on a series of instrumentals with trippy hipster snaps of London bouncing across the screen behind him. It’s the well co-ordinated visuals that push the live show onto a similar level to electronic duo Disclosure, especially when accompanied by Masa’s frenzied drumming, though at other times it’s more like Jack Garratt, as he picks up a guitar to jam on Tom Tripp’s soulful ‘Helpline’. “I’ve got a few friends helping me out tonight” he says, as Fliss bounds out onto stage for the absent Jamie Lidell, and Charli XCX for ‘1 Night’. It’s the unknown vocalist who takes on most of the hits tonight, often nailing them bar ‘Around The World’ which is timid in comparison to Desiigner’s yelping original version.
Between the album hits Masa throws it back to wonky hard-hitters ‘Lotus Eater’ and ‘Hell’, lights shattering across a now transfixed crowd and UK hip hop artist Jay Prince turns things even darker with twisted 2015 track ‘Low’. Fliss returns for a barely recognisable cover of Foals’ ‘Night Swimmers’ and on steel-drum thumping ‘Second To None’ it’s now clear that Masa lives through his powerful female vocalist, her best performance being A$AP Rocky’s ‘Love$ick’. As the intro zips in, Masa stands back and admits “This is the best show of my life”.
The encore gives him a breather as the Damon Albarn influenced ‘Blu’ oozes in, Masa lying down on stage to soak it all in once more. There’s one last special appearance, this time from NAO for his biggest hit ‘Firefly’ as Bonzai, Tripp and Fliss run on and jump into the crowd. It’s not just a landmark night for Mura Masa, but those who’ve helped him to make a versatile and credible debut album.
Photos by Patrick Gunning.