Alex Crossan, better known as Mura Masa, may only be 21 years old, but he has already built quite a name for himself as an electronic musician. Emerging into the industry at age 17, Mura Masa used SoundCloud as a means of dispersing his music to wider audiences.
After his song “Lotus Eater” was streamed on multiple BBC radio shows, it was not long before the Guernsey, Britain, native began collaborating with other artists to produce new music to be released in the United Kingdom and North America under his own label, Anchor Point Records.
Within a year of dropping his tracks on SoundCloud, Mura Masa garnered the world’s attention with “Firefly,” a joint effort with Dublin artist Bonzai. His eponymous debut studio album, which was released in July, features collaborations with some of the world’s most popular hip-hop and pop artists, including A$AP Rocky and Charli XCX, for sensational hit tracks “Love$ick” and “1 Night,” respectively.
Of the 13 songs featured on the album, only two do not feature another artist: “Messy Love” and “give me The ground.” This would seemingly make it difficult for Mura Masa to tour and promote his new album, but his performance at the 9:30 Club on Oct. 11 challenged that notion entirely.
Doors opened at 7 p.m., where the initially sparse crowd awaited opening act Joey Purp.
Purp may not be a household name yet, but his riveting dynamism communicated through politically charged raps about his hometown, Chicago, did not fail to enthrall his audience.
Through unapologetically raw lyrics like, “I done witness both sides of the murder” and “Tell me how you feel / I’ll show you how it feel to see a homicide,” Purp communicated the realities of living in the South Side of Chicago to his audience. He managed to electrify the audience into a state of keen anticipation for Mura Masa’s set.
Mura Masa’s stage set up was minimalistic, consisting of a sizable black banner displaying his name in large white block letters, a collection of instruments and DJ equipment in the center of the stage and an assortment of colored lights, which would do most of the work to create the ambience for the night.
The general mood at the beginning of Mura Masa’s set was characterized by tremendous excitement and energy. Unfortunately, this quickly perished when Mura Masa began to play a purely instrumental portion of slower electronic tracks, to which the audience was unable to dance along.
The quiet mood changed when collaborator Bonzai strode upon the stage for the performances of “Nuggets” and “What If I Go,” two songs that immediately transformed the audience from a relatively quiet mass of people into a raving mosh pit.
Mura Masa’s ability to mesh together a random combination of electronic sounds, percussion and vocals into flawless compositions of electronic dance pop songs are evident in recordings of his music. Miraculously, he was able to reproduce the same rich music live as he does in a studio, thanks to up-and-coming singer Fliss. Mura Masa brought Fliss along in order to perform the songs on his album that featured a number of artists who could not appear on the tour.
Fliss’ wide range of vocals and unparalleled dance moves allowed even those who were not very familiar with Mura Masa’s music to enjoy every second of the concert. She was able to mimic NAO’s breathy and high-pitched voice in “Firefly,” while still executing a stunning rendition of “helpline” with a lower and more upbeat cantor for the rap.
Mura Masa’s evident introversion and reserved nature did not harm the overall experience as Fliss more than made up for him by often joining the crowd and getting into two dance battles with random audience members, further turning the bottom floor of the 9:30 Club into a dancing mob. Between Mura Masa’s calm, collect composure and impressive live performance, the audience quickly forgot his youth and relative inexperience.
Although Mura Masa may not currently possess the largest fan base in the U.S., the audience at his concert surely walked out of the 9:30 Club with a newfound appreciation for the Guernsey artist and his distinctive style of electronic music. Although Mura Masa should work to improve his showmanship and energy level for future shows, this concert certainly did not disappoint.