Anderson .Paak at the O2 Forum, London


Photos courtesy of Gili Dailes Photography

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals have taken a night off from their arena tour with Bruno Mars, and played a one-off headline show at the O2 Forum which has sold out in only a few hours.

An animated backdrop sets the scene at the 02 Forum in Kentish Town. The Free Nationals take to the stage in an unassuming and humble manner, Anderson .Paak however, is standing on an exercise bench, leering at his audience before shouting "Are you ready to lose your mind London?". The crowd answer in a roar of approval and the band launch into the opening bars of 'Come Down', a groovy and danceable track with a hip hop feel.

Anderson .Paak spends the first part of the set fronting the band, gyrating around the stage and interacting with his audience and band members alike. Performing favourites from the album Malibu such as 'Put Me Thru' and 'Heart Don't Stand a Chance', he already has the sold out venue in the palm of his hand. On fan favourite 'Am I Wrong', .Paak repeats the line 'what about me? I believe in fate', a potentially cliched lyric, but considering the past years of struggle for a man who is thought of as 'an overnight success'- it is a fitting statement.

Photos courtesy of Gili Dailes Photography

His energy is admirable too. From pogoing on the exercise bench, Anderson .Paak barely pauses for breath before stepping behind the drum kit to join The Free Nationals and showcase his explosive, gospel style drumming, it's quite a spectacle.

No one quite sounds like Anderson .Paak, a combination of neo soul, RnB, funk, hip hop and as the show goes on...dance. The evening has taken a turn for sure, a definite departure from the more hip hop opening numbers, the audience clearly has no complaints and it serves well to build the show to a rolling crescendo of chanted choruses and irresistible dance grooves.

Towards the end of the show Anderson .Paak welcomes The Internet onto the stage, fresh from a fantastic support slot. It looks and feels less like a show and more like a party in this intimate venue.

The evening draws to a close, the lights go down and an audience is left hungry for more. Well deserved recognition for a man who appears to hold all the cards: a distinctive and unique voice, an entertaining frontman and a talented drummer.

Ladies and gentlemen, Anderson .Paak.

Words By Lloyd Coote

Photos courtesy of Gili Dailes Photography

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