Masego had San Francisco at his fingertips — and he knew it. Enveloped in smoke and a sultry, amber glow, he took The Warfield stage with sheer magnetism on the night of March 14.
Best known for his saxophone solos and honey-like vocals, Masego is a jack of all trades. His previous records embody maximalism in spirit and production, blending elements of jazz, hip-hop and R&B. A seasoned collaborator, his knack for reworking and elevating great music is evident in his features with Drake, Don Toliver, KAYTRANADA and more.
His latest self-titled album “Masego,” however, is a statement of independence. It is pure Masego, consisting of zero features. In his headlining tour of the same name, Masego surpasses all potential to land in a league entirely his own — one that is emotive, soulful and comtemporarily sax-y.
The stage was a picture of easy, hazy surrender with large palm ferns and glittery curtains promising paradise. Masego’s first song “Navajo” lit the fuse of the night. The crowd came to life, unfurling to the tune of his opening saxophone solo. From his first entrance, Masego’s stage presence was unshakeable, his confidence and unabashed eccentricity assuring the crowd that this experience was one in a million.
Wielding his saxophone like a weapon, Masego performed with a rare fluidity. His music was impressive in its technical triumphs as layers and layers of instrumentation and melodies culminated in a signature Masego groove. With this, his easy, almost lazy expertise rang unexpected and formidable.
The screen in the background complemented his show with vibrant projections and video effects, trailing his movements as he sang. Down to his joint-smoking pianist, the meticulous details of his set were the ultimate pairing for his music, resulting in nothing short of transcendence.
“Lots of ladies here tonight,” Masego called out in a playful voice before launching into “Mystery Lady,” a track about finding an unknown soulmate. He flirted fun and fast, tossing red roses into the crowd and dedicating the romance of the night to the ladies at his feet. With his commitment to engaging both his fans and himself, Masego proved to be not only a master musician, but a master performer. As he donned a king’s crown and relished his rostrum, there was a sense he was born to do exactly this.
Simply put: Masego made the show fun. He curated scintillating chemistry with his fans throughout the night that made the concert feel like a secret inside joke. The crowd was constantly asked to participate in his songs, whether it was singing his loops back to him or putting up two fingers in the air for his latest single “Two Sides (I’m So Gemini).”
Though this repetition ran the risk of turning stale, Masego’s hold of the room made the consistent audience participation feel natural and completely immersive.
From juggling to moonwalking to swaying in pure ecstasy, standing still was the one thing Masego didn’t know how to do. Despite this, his vocals remained clear and silky smooth. Particularly impressive was his performance of “You Never Visit Me,” another single off his new album in which he delivered its distinct high note unfalteringly.
Though one could argue that Masego is at the peak of his career, the artist emanates a true sense of humility under all that suave.
“Give some love to Jamaica right now!” he called with pride, waving his home country’s flag as he performed “Silver Tongue Devil,” a track that blends smooth sax with hip-fluttering Jamaican dancehall. Masego’s recognition for his roots shined through his glitz, adding depth to his already impressive repertoire.
As he closed the show with the iconic “Tadow,” his passion was unmistakable. Improvised saxophone riffs commanded this rendition, making it his most spirited performance of the night. He raised his saxophone like a trophy to the crowd’s roaring applause as the set ended, pointing at individual fans and saying, “Thank you” to each one.
Lucky for the world, Masego and his music are everchanging chameleons, and his show at The Warfield proved just that.