He delivered the soul on Dr Dre’s album ‘Compton’ and on his own album ‘Malibu’, he fused psychedelic guitar riffs and limboed between musical genres. Now, over 5000 miles from his hometown of Oxnard, California, with an infectious smile from ear-to-ear, the artist formally known as Breezy Lovejoy took to the stage to perform to a souled-out crowed at London’s XOYO.
What did the Dre collaborator, singing-rapping, drumming-guitar playing hybrid do for his Arrival? Of course, a night of Anderson .Paak fuelled soul and passion from start to finish. As an eager fan of Anderson .Paak’s most recent album ‘Malibu’ – the excitement of hearing and seeing ‘Malibu’ live, was uncontainable; I wanted and needed to groove. ‘Malibu’ is drenched in soul and blends styles, that gives it its genre-bending quality; it’s timeless and relatable – and based on the varied colours, ages and genders at East London’s XOYO, the only fan that I could possibly describe an Anderson .Paak fan would be as varied as his music. Seriously there’s no formula to .Paak’s music or his fans.
Joined by his band and co-collaborators, The Free Nationals, Anderson .Paak jumped onto the stage like an enthusiastic Southern Baptist Church Minister, ready to deliver a furore of his raspy vocals to the crowd. For the sold out audience, we only had one mission on our minds: a good time.
Opening with ‘Animals’, the track that took him ‘Compton’ to the global stage, Anderson .Paak knew from the outset how he’s become the fastest rising artist of the moment but not because he’s new with his moment and it quickly became apparent how vast .Paaks catalogue is. Performing tracks from his first full solo project ‘Venice’; to the latest new album ‘Malibu’; back to his debut Breezy project ‘O.B.E. Vol.1‘; and then into ‘Suede’ his track as one of the NxWorries duo; the prolific artist is identically versatile as a live multi-instrumentalist, jumping from the guitar, to the drums, all while singing and bouncing infectiously to the groove of his songs.
Crowd standouts like ‘Come Down’ and ‘The Bird’ brought home his soulful spark and a performance of ‘Am I wrong’ even included a very, very wonderland-disco themed tribute to the late David Bowie, which, at the end, saw .Paak jump on the drums bursting into the famed drum riff from the Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’. Throughout the hour long set, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals, seamlessly fused tracks from the project, going one into the other, leaving the audience – come congregation members – no other option, but to continue to groove with him.
For Anderson .Paak, the journey to this point in London, has been loitered with passion, pain and setbacks. Looking around the audience, smiling from ear-to-ear, .Paak took a break from singing. Taking to talk to the audience, he reminisced of the last time he performed in London years prior to ‘Malibu’, when “no one knew who the fuck we was”. Paak oozed appreciation and genuine gratitude throughout the night.
Closing the show on his 2014 trap infused hit ‘Drugs’ Anderson .Paak proved he is one for music lovers everywhere. With songs to turn up to, songs to make love to, and songs to give thanks to, Anderson .Paak’s Arrival proved that ‘Malibu’ and his consistent artistry is not only timeless, but universal too. It’s safe to say the 2016 soul-man is here.