After Mura Masa’s strong-as-steel Warehouse Project performance last year, the electronic producer and songwriter was back for round two on Saturday with his record label Anchor Point. Alongside him was soul singer NAO and modern R&B star Bonzai, who brought their legions of fans to what was perhaps the busiest Store Street event I had ever attended.
21 year old Alex Crossan, the man behind Mura Masa, has been in the music business for six years and has been changing the world of electro-pop ever since. Shortlisted for the BBC Sound of 2016 Award, the artist is known for his cutting-edge dance music and collaboration tracks with A$AP Rocky and Charlie XCX. His personal ambition is to “make really, really, really good music that’s culturally relevant and stands the test of time”, and if Saturday night’s performance was anything to go by, he has already exceeded his expectations
The main room was packed to the brim at 2am, when Mura Masa launched into ‘Messy Love’, the first track from his recently released self-titled album. The energetic track captivated the audience from its first poignant note, and had people dancing (or trying to. I can’t reiterate how very little space there was) for its entirety.
Bonzai also charmed the audience with her individuality- her dreadlocked hair and wide trousers set her identity as a fiery female, whilst her distorted echoing vocals made her seem a lot more grounded. Her vocals in her own track ‘Nuggets’ as well as her cover of ‘1 night’ were definite highlights to the night, and show she has a lot of potential to be at the top of the charts. ‘1 night’ in particular was well received by the crowd who were bouncing wall-to-wall to the catchy beat.
Anchor Point record label is definitely home to unique artists with varying styles- a mix of leftfield soul, synthetic experimentation, and beats that borrow ideas from jazz, rave and grime.
Infamous London rap collective, 67, also performed but I did not think they were right for the night. In my opinion, it was odd to have NAO play her “wonky funk” music style and then have the atmosphere completely battered with hip-hop and grime straight after. With twice as many YouTube views as Mercury Prize winner Skepta, there is no denying 67 are great at what they do, but they should have perhaps played on a grime heavy night at Warehouse to truly appreciate their vibe.
Although Mura Masa was the main headliner, he was aided by NAO whose ethereal vocals made ‘Firefly’ one of the night’s best sounding tracks. The song catapulted Alex Crossan to success in 2015 when it was chosen for the In New Music We Trust playlist at BBC Radio 1 but it’s the balance of finger-snapping house beat, feather-light vocals and mystical lyrics that have kept it a contemporary hit. The audience reacted superbly with the song, singing it louder and clearer than the on-stage crooners.
Anchor Point Records were an overwhelming success at Warehouse Project, and Mura Masa was an incredible headliner. Managing to choose the perfect eclectic set-list, it was easy to forget he has only released a mixtape, an EP and one album to date. His musical career looms ahead of him, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.
The Warehouse Project is open on selective nights until 1st January 2018. Some tickets still remain. Find more information here.