Masego Live Show Review: “You Never Visit Me” Tour Captivates through Crowd Work

Headlining multiple days of sold out shows, Jamaican-American musician Masego is partway through his national “You Never Visit Me” tour, named after the single on his latest self-titled, full-length record. On March 18, he took the stage at Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon — to an audibly excited all-ages crowd — and proceeded to perform an emotionally dynamic set featuring songs drawn from across his catalog, which includes two LPS, three EPs, and plenty of singles or collaborative tracks.

Masego Live Show Review
Live concert photos by Vee Hua 華婷婷

Masego, whose real name is Micah Davis, wooed the crowd early on with “Lady Lady,” the popular title track from his 2018 record. He alternated between the song’s memorable saxophone riffs and catchy vocal hooks, while sprinkling in dance moves that hyped the crowd, which was practically singing every word that came out of his mouth. Responding to this energy, Davis relied heavily on the technique of call-and-response throughout his set, and the audience repeated just about anything, whether it be multiple instances of “Hi-de-hi-de-ho” or “Money, money, money,” during the track, “Black Anime.”

Indeed, vibe was everything this evening, and how the audience responded spoke to the overflowing amount of energy in the room. The first half of the set felt akin to a club atmosphere; dancing was plentiful and full-bodied, both onstage and off — and while the band was only a three-piece, its sound felt massive. Bass synths, bass guitar, and drums bumped the low-end in a way that felt much larger than the venue could withstand, and behind Masego, a brightly-lit LED screen brought the vibrancy of the Caribbean, as it alternated between sunsets and moonscapes; palm trees and prismatic colors. The constantly-dynamic backdrop succeeded in creating a warm mood — at times casting Masego in a silhouette, and at times focusing a close-up camera on him so that those at the back of the room could see more clearly.

Masego Live Show Review
Masego Live Show Review
Masego Live Show Review

During one of the most memorable moments of the evening, Davis prefaced the song “Yamz” by calling out, “If you’re having a good time, say, ‘Yeah!'” The crowd responded in earnest. Davis then yelled, “If you’re having a good time, say, ‘Yamz!'” and the crowd responded even louder. This pattern continued to escalate — and at the peak of these crowd-work shenanigans, the crowd copied Masego by belting out numerous renditions of the word “yamz” in increasingly challenging vocal melodies, as though they had no self-consciousness at all. Everything was pure, playful fun.

“You passed the yam test and unlocked a new song,” Masego joked, as he quickly launched into a recent fan favorite: “What You Wanna Try,” which features samples from British musician Craig David’s track, “What’s Your Flava?” As the crowd continued to offer positive affirmations, he further encouraged them, by announcing, “You passed the vibe test!!”

Newer songs generally brought the applause just as much as old favorites. “Gemini,” a track about the unpredictability of Masego’s character, was a hit from the recent LP, and its unpredictable persona seemed to be present throughout the set, which moved through many moods. Davis’ on-stage persona is full of swagger and confidence — often unapologetic, even when it’s loving.

“Two sides, choose your fighter / I’ll be your type, it’s a fine line / Answer a Gemini, Gemini,” he sings in “Gemini.” “Who you tryna see tonight, see tonight? / (‘Cause I’ve got) two sides, choose your fighter.”

Masego Live Show Review
Masego Live Show Review
Masego Live Show Review

Davis is certainly not shy about calling out his own prowess, either. This was exemplified by the moment he led into one of his always-satisfying saxophone solos with the hilarious outburst, “Make some noise for my saxophone!”

Towards the end of the set, one such saxophone solo — followed by a drum solo, plenty of visual triggers, and strobing effects — kicked off an experimental portion of the set. An extended instrumental jam expanded the band’s sound into Afropop and Caribbean pop territory as the band verbally paid homage to Jamaica and Kenya. To be fair, though, while this portion presented a welcome divergence of sound, it felt lost upon the ethnically-mixed Portland crowd just a tiny bit. They didn’t quite seem how to move as they did during earlier, during more familiar tracks.

Thankfully, the crowd returned to full participation when the set eventually dovetailed into another crowd favorite. “Silver Tongue Devil,” from Masego’s 2020 Studying Abroad EP, was the perfect sing-a-long track. Lyrics like, “Silver tongue devil / She call me cocky man / I say my head level” seemed to only prove Davis’ point regarding his own showmanship. After all, he was only capable of losing the crowd’s attention ever-so-briefly.

What the “You Never Visit Me” tour proved this evening was that Masego’s sound and spirit are already too big for a venue like Roseland Theater, even with its 1,400-person capacity. If the hunger of the crowd serves as any indication, it’d come as no surprise if Davis’ next go-around sees significant a significant level-up.

Masego Live Show Review
Photo by Sam Erickson


Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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