The first Saturday of October, GoldLink’s “At What Cost” tour took a pit stop at Madison’s Majestic Theater. The audience was in for a treat. Within the first 20 minutes of the concert, I knew I was experiencing something magical. Surprisingly, that was all because of the opening artist, Masego. While GoldLink’s performance was entertaining, it was underwhelming compared to Masego’s act.
I had no clue who Masego was before the show. The 24-year-old DMV native has collaborated with multiple artists including GoldLink, SPZRKT and Xavier Omar. However, he just recently released his first studio album, Loose Thoughts, in 2016. Masego is quite unlike any other artist I have ever experienced. His music falls under the newest genre of music known as “trap house jazz.” Masego created the genre which mixes classical jazz with modern trap beats to fuse the best of both worlds.
Throughout his entire performance, Masego reminded the audience that he was a pioneer by consistently pushing the boundaries and doing the unexpected. At one point Masego asked where he was performing. An audience member screamed out the Madison area code “6-0-8.” Masego replied, “I like that. Let’s put that into a song.” He then sang his song “I’m in Hollywood….” but replaced any mentions of Hollywood with “608.”
Unlike GoldLink, Masego’s performance was a shared effort, making it interactive and fresh. He even gave the audience a glimpse into the studio by creating a beat in real time using a Launchpad and his vocals. Shockingly, the execution was flawless. The song — which was made in less than a minute — fit right in with the rest of his set.
The highlight of that night was when Masego pulled out his beloved “Sasha, the Saxophone.” He played her over a groovy lo-fi beat and the entire atmosphere of the venue instantly changed. The lights were dimmed and the blue outline of Masego’s silhouette was the only thing visible on stage. The Majestic evolved into a nightclub set in a film noir.
Masego did exactly what all great first acts are supposed to do; he attracted people to his solo work while getting the crowd hyped for what was to come.
When GoldLink finally came on, I expected him to somehow top the opener’s performance as it was his tour. He did not. GoldLink still delivered an enjoyable set full of his upbeat hits. “Spectrum” and “Some Girl” made just about everyone want to dance. One moment to be noted was the performance of “Crew,” GoldLink’s most popular song. As soon as the audience figured out that “Crew” was being performed, the floors began to rumble and the center of the crowd dispersed, creating room for a mosh pit. Not a single soul stood still.
If GoldLink could have maintained the same level of energy from those three minutes in his entire performance, the show would have been much better. By the end of the concert, I realized that Masego’s performance was set up to be a learning experience for the crowd, and while GoldLink’s set was fun, it couldn’t live up to Masego’s school lesson.