Anderson .Paak was the consummate showman at Alexandra Palace last Friday, wowing a sold out crowd of 10,000 with a stunning performance. The California artist, along with his band, The Free Nationals, showcased his genre-defying versatility and, fresh from winning a Grammy for booming anthem Bubblin’, Paak was on top form, displaying seemingly undying energy and heart.
Combining playing the drums and singing for the entirety of the show, “Andy’s Beach Club” brought some much needed summery vibes on what was a chilly night in north London. The 33 year old opened with The Chase – the lush, grand intro to his most recent project Oxnard, and the fires flaring from the stage seemed to signify that he was just warming up. Much of the same confidence and bravado purveyed throughout his hour and a half long set, highlighted by his mid show stage-leap during Saviers Road, and .Paak’s glowing, wide toothed smile became a feature of the night, transmitting to all of those in attendance.
Oxnard is yet another stop on his seemingly rapid ascent from relative unknown to world superstar, in no small part due to multiple show stealing appearances on Dr. Dre’s Compton album from 2015. The influence of Dre (who executively produced Oxnard) is apparent – the album takes a slight left turn from the silky, soulful tunes that .Paak has developed a reputation for, in favour of direct, demanding chants – “6 Summers” encourages the youth to put down their weapons in favour of a certain recently legalized substance, while taking aim at some of the legislation laid in place by the United States’ current toupeed president.
The show served as a treat for the fans who have witnessed his journey over the past 5 years – performances of a large portion of Malibu, his excellent debut only livened up the party, and hits such as Heart Don’t Stand a Chance, Come Down and Am I Wrong set the show up for its grandstand finale. He also gifted a performance of Suede, a stand out from Yes Lawd, his joint project with Knxwledge, before closing with a heartfelt tribute to the late Mac Miller with their funky collaboration Dang!.
British fans are sure to await the return of Anderson Paak and his supremely talented band with impatience, and may not have to wait too long: his new album Ventura drops next month, and the crowd’s reception to King James – the first single, indicates this man who can do no wrong is only going to better.