Masego and friends turned St Paul Cathedral Carpark upside down for Melbourne Music Week

In celebration of their 13th birthday, The Operatives brought a huge lineup to Melbourne Music Week – the Australian debut of Masego, the always swooning Silentjay and the eclectic Haiku Hands.

As the carpark of St Paul’s Cathedral began to fill up, the Bad Opera All-Stars (made up of Billy Davis, Jordan Dennis, Blasko, Tentendo and The CB3) set the scene perfectly.
By the time Haiku Hands took the stage with their infectious beats and uninhibited dance moves, the crowd was ready to get a little closer and dance a little lower. The up-and-coming Sydney-based collective rapped over electronic beats and brought their explosive energy to the carpark with party starters like ‘Squat’ and ‘Not About You’.
Local R&B favourite SilentJay swooned and crooned with a live performance supported by Jace XL and Trè Samuels. Singing tracks from SilentJay and Jace XL’s EP Sacrifice and paying homage to The Ohio Players, warm familiarity returned to the stage and completely mesmerised the crowd. If this wasn’t already apparent through the melodic R&B beats and buttery timbre in their voices, it was obvious by looking around at everyone in the crowd swaying back and forth, clutching their reusable beer cups to their chest with eyes glued to the stage. The 30-minutes of rainfall fazed no one.
Man of the hour and traphousejazz extraordinaire Masego burst into view and immediately brought back the energy. Masego, much like SilentJay, is a multi-instrumentalist (primarily self-taught, for that matter) with a killer voice perfect for both belting out a ballad and spitting bars.
Masego worked through his set list from his EPs Loose Thoughts and The Pink Polo. Both ‘Girls That Dance’ and ‘Wifeable’had everyone jumping and dancing, but it was ‘Send Yo Rita!’(sampled from Justin Timberlake’s iconic ‘Señorita’) that brought on intense 2002 nostalgia and was a crowd favourite.
If Masego wasn’t on the mic he was blowing jazzy riffs through his sax. His newest releases, ‘Tadow’ and ‘Navajo’, are both incredible showcases of his insane musical talent. Masego spent about half the set on his saxophone and we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Seeing Masego on the saxophone was like watching someone go to their happy place – it was undoubtedly the highlight of the night. He grinned from ear to ear the whole time as his signature gold chain adorned with a miniature saxophone swung around his neck. He was just as happy to be there as we were.
Highlight: Masego riffing on his saxophone.
Lowlight: 30 minutes of downpour at an outdoor venue.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Send Yo Rita!’