Saxophonist, pianist, lyricist and the jazz king of this generation, Masego, took to the stage at the 02 Ritz in Manchester on Saturday, as part of his much anticipated (and delayed) Studying Abroad tour. Originally set to study abroad in 2021, covid had kept this crowd waiting, but as proved, the best things come to those that wait. 

Mereba opened the show with her eclectic blend of RnB and hiphop, gently warming up the crowd. A mellow yet tasteful blend of spoken rap and soulful vocals, Mereba christened this evening of delightfully crafted soulful music. With a voice comparable to Summer Walker, combined with an inspiring confidence and presence on stage, Mereba gave the audience a performance they were sure to remember. Stay Tru being a personal highlight, she demonstrated both her musical and vocal capabilities throughout her set, power-ballading her way through technical difficulty on the keys. She seamlessly twinned her elongated, elegant vocal segments with the passionate lyricism of the rapped verses, demonstrating true versatility and showcasing her talent as a musician and an artist. 

After patiently enduring the distasteful playlist of the interlude, Masego finally saved the audience from the delights of 80s rock and showed us all what he had to offer. Gliding on stage, grinning from ear to ear, he was eager to grace the ears of the crowd with his traphouse jazz set. The first thing you notice about this performer is that he oozes coolness from every possible outlet, and therefore wore sunglasses for his entire set. Although, as expected, it was the way he worked his sax that stole the show.

A practitioner and specialist of so many different fields, Masego hopped from sax to keys to vocals … even to juggling at one point, just to prove to us all that there really is nothing he can’t accomplish. The soulful tones within his vocals, harmonising with the aggression and depth of the drums and bass, perfectly unified by the fruitful sax, there was no need for a big, flamboyant production. This concert demonstrated some of the best quality live music I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing, only intensified by the true authenticity of Masego and the music he creates, made explicit on this evening. 

Closing off the show with an encore of Tadow, one of his more popular tracks, Masego, as hinted within the lyrics of tiktok hit Mystery Lady, speared the hearts of audience members with a lavishing of roses, in case we hadn’t all already fallen in love with him enough after his astounding performance. Rightfully crowning himself for his final track, the energy of his trap-beat afro-groove music continued to radiate through the floorboards, as this evening of definite talent and addictive rhythms came to an end.

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Written by Lilly Tarmey