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Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals: Live Report

Anderson .Paak’s charisma is palpable. It’s one of the reasons the 32-year-old California native has – seemingly out of nowhere – become one of the biggest names in R&B.

As he bounded on stage to a heaving Brixton Academy on Tuesday night, packed with 5000 fans who had managed to secure a free ticket to the one-off show, this charisma was in full effect. Immediately launching into the infectious ‘Come Down’ – taken from his breakthrough album Malibu – the crowd were in the palm of Paak’s hand from the outset as he danced around the surreal stage setup – framed by a giant, open mouth, with vibrant, psychedelic lighting.

As for Paak, the massive grin never left his face as he breezed through standout cuts ‘The Waters’ and ‘Heart Don’t Stand A Chance’, as well as collaborations with Kaytranada (‘Glowed Up’) and his side project NxWorries. His touring band The Free Nationals were right behind him, delivering clean, perfectly precise grooves without breaking a sweat.

A brief appearance from Paak’s mentor, Dr Dre, sent the room into a frenzy. “This man is destined to be a superstar,” the hip-hop legend declared. As Paak effortlessly switched roles – alternating between leading his band at the front of the stage and hopping on a drum kit at the centre – it was clear that Dre’s prediction had already come to pass.


You can catch Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals at #Lovebox18 Friday. Click here to buy tickets.

Photos by Sean Carpenter