The 21 year old, born Alex Crossan, opened with “Messy Love” — the lead track off his 2017 self-titled debut — during which he swiveled between a keyboard, drum kit, synth pad, electric guitar and chimes that surrounded him in a semi-circle. If that’s not enough, he also sang in an immaculate falsetto. Calling Mura Masa a DJ would be to sell him short; he’s an impressively skilled one-man band.
That being said, his debut album featured a who’s who of featured vocalists, boasting big names like A$AP Rocky (“Love$ick”), Charli XCX (“1 Night”), Desiigner (“All Around The World”) and others. The latter even made a hometown appearance for his featured track, which saw him gift his jacket and shirt to the hyped-up crowd and twirl an open water bottle above his head to create a sprinkler effect. After performing his verse and releasing a few of his signature drill sounds, Desiigner and Masa embraced in a hug — marking the first time the DJ stepped out of his self-constructed cage of musical toys.
Save for the first song of the brisk one-hour long set, Masa was otherwise joined by a guest, whether it be Desiigner; R&B’s rising singer Bonzai, who is featured on “Nuggets” and “What If I Go?”; or Fliss, who has joined him for every show from festival stages to smaller indoor venues and does triple duty as a singer, hype man and dancer. During “Helpline,” Fliss delivered ’50s sock hop dance moves and elsewhere twerked. At one point, during an instrumental-only section — having only one full-length album, Masa let his set breathe with lengthy, ethereal synth breaks — Fliss even found herself a spot in the crowd to dance amongst fans, who formed a circle around her.
“You still with me New York?” questioned the otherwise mute Masa, who tends to let his music do all the talking. From there, the show picked up in intensity as the hard hitting bass reached the point of a full-body tickle from the vibrations. After Fliss’ spit-fire delivery of “Low,” off Masa’s 2015 EP Someday Somewhere and debut album track “Who Is It Gonna B,” the stage went dark. Without hesitation, the crowd erupted in a chant for “Lovesick,” Masa’s A$AP Rocky-featuring breakthrough hit. The producer obliged.
For a young dance artist such as Mura Masa, who so clearly prefers to perform in the shadows, the encore is where he shined brightest. He sang solo with his six-string for the Bon-Iver influenced, twangy guitar track “give me The ground” and “Blue” (featuring Damon Albarn), and then stepped in front of the clear plexiglass box that his DJ equipment sat on to lay down on stage. The bliss-out moment didn’t last long, though, as he quickly returned to his comfort zone to pick up his drumsticks for an explosive ending of “Firefly,” with both Bonzai and Fliss.
Following a successful summer of festival gigs at Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Life Is Beautiful and others, in addition to his sold out tour dates — his triumphant Terminal 5 gig included — it’s clear that wherever Mura Masa goes, his fans are going with him.