What better way for Mura Masa to open a gig than with the much-loved Lovesick. It sort of sums up his appeal, the deft electronica that’s at once a crowd-pleaser and a window into his twiddling trickery. It’s a move that has the whole Brighton crowd immediately into his vibe, cemented by a timely airing of Firefly.
Knowing Nao wouldn’t be making an appearance, it was good to see a another female vocalist with her capabilities accompanying him for most of the evening. That person happened to be the incredible Bonzai – deserving to be a star in her own right – who knew how to work the stage which was a satisfying contrast between the shyness of Mura Masa behind his equipment and the confidence of a vocalist working it on stage.
Of course, a man and his laptop are never that much fun to watch, so we’re treated to a little light show as well – strobed, layered and flickering, fitting with the vibe of each song played at the time, especially during his solo performance of Lotus. For someone who is a multi-instrumentalist, though, it was a shame that the majority of the gig was spent by Mura Masa on the electronic drums. Perhaps there would have been a better balance if there was more use of the other instruments on stage, which he certainly knew his way around when they got some attention.
A common theme with electronic performances and something of a significant drawback, is that it’s hard to distinguish what instruments are played in real time and what is just purely being played via the recording. There’s obviously a lot of that with Mura Masa, whose arrangements are so complex at times that bringing them to life in a gig may be too much to ask. Still, it’d be good to see what he’s capable of in all senses and not just his ability to work behind a screen because, let’s face it, we might as well be watching any old sod.