With a venue packed full of eagerly awaiting fans, it seemed Anderson .Paak had all the right tools to whip up a storm when he entered the stage on Tuesday night (March 13th).
The immense red lips arched above the stage only added to this sense of occasion and anticipation. This free event had sold in minutes and rumours around what was in store had been circulating for weeks.
And of course, .Paak’s entrance was met with a hero’s welcome. His hit 'Come Down' tore down the Brixton Academy in an instant. But few could have expected the entrance of the great Dr. Dre only a minute into the performance (although his name was all over the billing…)
The crowd was sent into a frenzy as the legendary artist, business mogul and long-term mentor of .Paak, joined him on stage for renditions of his classics 'Still Dre' and 'The Next Episode'.
As Paak explained, Dre "flew in from Cali to say wassup". No big deal. Paak’s entrance was more than convincing, but when you add Dre into the equation, you’re guaranteed to have the crowd in the palm of your hand.
Before you could pause to consider what had just happened, Paak was on his way through a faultless display of his well refined back catalogue. He seamlessly blended the high energy 'Glowed Up' into R Kelly’s Ignition with ease. One for the ladies. The beautiful 'Heart Don’t Stand A Chance' and 'The Bird' from 2016’s 'Malibu' were followed with the equally striking 'Get Bigger' from his exploits with producer Knxwledge.
Everything felt fresh about the show, including his debut performance of 'Til It’s Over', first premiered last week in the Spike Jonze Apple commercial featuring FKA Twigs. This level of innovation and creativity drives everything at the heart of Anderson .Paak and is replicated by everyone around him, no better example being Dr. Dre.
His transitions through the 14-track performance were effortless, largely due to his almost telepathic connection with his 4-piece band, The Free Nationals. Their chemistry is such that every move has become second nature, switching .Paak’s records into psychedelic jazz fusions, vibing off one another while .Paak steers the ship.
.Paak dominates the stage with an infectious bravado, the crowd hooked on every word, jive or grind on the mic stand. One moment he’s front and centre, the next he’ll glide over to the drums and take lead from the back. More talented on the drums than most, .Paak takes centre stages even in this role.
If there was one moment to sum up the performance, it would have to be .Paak’s pirouette mid drum solo, spinning with grace before sliding back in on the drums right on beat. Anderson .Paak is a certified rockstar.
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Words: Angus McKeon
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