Following up from his stunning Parklife performance in June, Mura Masa was back in the northern city of Manchester to grace the newly established Depot at Mayfield with his eclectic electronic sounds and meaningful melodies.
Making Depot at Mayfield it’s residence for 12 weeks, Warehouse Project’s new venture is one not to be sniffed at. Transforming an ex-railway station that remained empty for decades into a raver’s dream, the industrial powerhouse’s immense arches and vast areas of space to explore proves how rich this venue is in character. It’s almost bizarre that this abandoned station has only recently emerged at the forefront of Manchester’s nightlife scene in the last few years.
Already holding an iconic reputation within the UK’s nightlife scene, it’s fantastic that Warehouse Project acknowledged the fact that they needed to add more space to dance, expand the size of the smoking area and ensure that less time was spent queuing for bars and toilets. Now having addressed these issues, it would be fair to say that Warehouse Project is at the top of the game across the whole of the UK, contending alongside the likes of London’s Printworks (one of my favourite night time venues).
With a stellar line up curated by Mura Masa himself, the night consisted of the finest future dance music sounds that would appeal to all ears. Nao’s super smooth and distinctly child-like and innocent vocals illuminated the room as she gracefully stepped up for her live set, teamed with a backing band and dancers.
Effortlessly velvety tones were matched with ethereal sounds, before Nao announced she wanted to “take us all on a journey” through her music. The feel-good floating tracks mirrored her flamboyant pink jacket, which gently rippled as she interacted back and forth with the eager audience. Her track ‘complicated’ had the crowd bopping along, whilst the people on the edge of the crowd made the most of the dance space (myself included) and crafted our own extravagant routines mirroring (trying to, at least) the incredible backing dancers. Her set felt full of love and set the good vibes up for Mura Masa who was set to appear next.
As the strobes began to flicker to signify the start of his set, some of the crowd didn’t even require a split second to have their phones in the air; hitting the record button before the Guernsey- born musician had even made his way onto the stage. Sadly, it wasn’t long before a sea of phones made it up, making it almost impossible to catch a glimpse of the stage without being obstructed by a glaring screen.
It took the crowd a couple of songs to fully immerse themselves and embrace the atmosphere, but by the time the recognisable chimes of ‘One Night’ encapsulated the room, they were in for the long run. With the official video playing in the background, Mura Masa’s shows are artistic both musically and visually, with engaging stories panning out on a large screen behind his head.
Armed with a plethora of live music instruments, Mura Masa’s humble approach to his music is also what makes it such a fantastic show. Recruiting in the same singers he did for his Parklife set, the girls bounced around the stage, each expressing their incredible attitude and personalities that complimented the musician’s tunes.
Debuting his latest track ‘I don’t think I can do this again’ to the Manchester crowd, it almost seemed wasted as the crowd weren’t reciprocating as they should have for such an impactful tune.
Teetering towards the end of his set, Nao made an appearance to perform her track ‘Firefly’ alongside him and his singers. The performance radiated an abundance of love and happiness and the ladies danced through his glittering synths and smooth beats, sharing both the spotlight and mic between them.
For someone with talent like Mura Masa, he remains incredibly modest throughout his set; the ladies on stage encouraging him to take his well-deserved bow. Met with rapturous applause, the crowd couldn’t get enough of him and it’s without a doubt that he’ll be met with the same respect for his next visit to the city, and we can’t wait to have him back.