Jazz Café, Fri­day 14th Septem­ber 2018

Murs made his name in the 90s as part of the Cali­for­nia-based, aptly-named Liv­ing Legends crew and years of inde­pend­ent hust­ling have led him to the right­ful status as one of the finest tal­ents to emerge from the US indie scene. Com­ing from the pre-Inter­net era when a live show was the only way to gain both respect and a fan­base he has forged a career which at one point saw him on the cusp of main­stream acclaim. Through­out his 20+ years in the game he has earned a repu­ta­tion for being a bru­tally hon­est, bound­ary-push­ing artist who speaks on the eas­ily related daily struggles that the aver­age per­son faces, a stark con­trast to the brag­gado­cious atti­tude of many of his peers.

He brought his live show to Lon­don on Fri­day 14th Septem­ber as a loy­al group of fol­low­ers huddled into the tightly packed Jazz Café to show their appre­ci­ation. The Cam­den ven­ue con­tin­ues to be the num­ber one place in Lon­don to watch under­ground acts from over the pond and always attracts a diverse, upbeat crowd. The even­ing star­ted with a per­form­ance from UK group The Age Of L.U.N.A. who warmed the crowd up with their quirky and bouncy set. This was quickly fol­lowed by an explos­ive per­form­ance from US rap­per Dee‑1, whose infec­tious brand of high-energy, unshake­able pos­it­iv­ity quickly won the crowd over and even threatened to over­shad­ow the main event with his enga­ging crowd inter­ac­tion and humil­ity.

But Murs is a con­sum­mate pro­fes­sion­al, an artist who has craf­ted and per­fec­ted a live show that has stood the test for over two dec­ades. An artist who once rapped “If I don’t rap every night, I might lose a fan / So even if I got the flu I got a mic in my hand…” So when he emerged hold­ing two crutches and slowly limped onto the stage fans greeted him with a sense of con­fu­sion and con­cern. Was the liv­ing legend going to be able to hit peak form with this unex­pec­ted injury? After quickly explain­ing that he’d injured him­self play­ing bas­ket­ball with Dee‑1 he answered that ques­tion in the best pos­sible way, run­ning through gem after gem from his extens­ive dis­co­graphy with the sort of enthu­si­asm and pas­sion that few can match.

His new­er fan­base were able to enjoy his recent songs, ran­ging from heart­felt tales about per­son­al tra­gedies he’d faced all the way to an ode to his fresh kicks. His abil­ity to incor­por­ate such a drastic range of moods into his set is very com­par­able to a typ­ic­al Murs album — at times it’s so hon­est it’s funny, but very quickly he can trans­ition into a song about some­thing so much more poignant without ever miss­ing a step. Older fans were treated to sev­er­al selec­tions from his col­lab­or­at­ive 9th Won­der albums and although a few tracks from his early Liv­ing Legends days would’ve been wel­comed by many it shows the strength of his cata­logue that so many great songs had to be left off the set list. His crowd inter­ac­tion was out­stand­ing and his mobil­ity, while some­what affected by his injury, didn’t stop him mak­ing his pres­ence known to all corners of the crowd.

With great warm up acts and a thor­oughly recept­ive audi­ence Murs found he had all the sup­port he needed to ensure that, des­pite an injury, he stood firm and fur­ther cemen­ted his legendary status.

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Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon

Between 9–5 I’m a pas­sion­ate teach­er for teen­agers with spe­cial needs and dis­en­gaged young people. From 5–9 I’m a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record col­lect­or, lov­er of live shows and occa­sion­al DJ.

About Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon
Between 9-5 I'm a passionate teacher for teenagers with special needs and disengaged young people. From 5-9 I'm a left-wing hip-hop head who fell in love with the music in the mid-90’s. Also have an equal love for jazz, soul and funk, am an avid record collector, lover of live shows and occasional DJ.