In what is quickly becoming a year of insane concert lineups, last week’s massive show at Huntington Bank Pavilion is gonna be one to top. Thundercat’s mind altering sounds, Noname’s hometown aura elevating her excellent bars, and Anderson Paak, the Best Teef in the Game, headlining it all. These three artists are at the top of their game and showed off just how well they can entertain a crowd.
Thundercat started it all off with a jazzy, isoteric explosion of sound that was equal parts genius and mess. It was impossible not to feel yourself being pulled into it’s sonic waves and rest deep within them. Thundercat’s sound ranges so vastly, from those jazz inspired riffs to funky jams that make you want to groove. With a 12in Silver Surfer riding be his side, Thundercat dug deep into his songs, melting everyone’s mind with his lysergic sounds. a clear highlight came at the end of the set when “Friend Zone” blasted off. I was hoping for a weird and impressive set;thankfully Thundercat obliged.
Noname followed that up with a riveting display of her commanding stage presence. Having seen her in early in her career, it was obvious that Noname could be a superstar form the start. Throughout her set she treated the crowd like close friend, making the huge venue somehow feel intimate. A quick freestyle, where she asked people to cheer only if the lines were good, definitely felt like a buddy practicing her bars with you. It was sweet even as she lamabsted us for cheer even at the corny line. This set really showed off how much she has accomplished, playing new tracks and favorites form Room 25 and Telefone. It’s a testament to her talents that Noname has still room to grow consider just how great she is now. (unfortunately no photographers were allowed to photographer her set)
Once it came time for the headlining set, the stage’s enormous pieces started falling into place. Huge steps rising up to the skies, a giant enclosure filling with fog, and screens blinking into existence. Anderson .Paak’s setup was exactly what you’d expect from the Best Teef in the Game (I seriously love this tour name and it’s Anthony Fantano dethroning). Within moments of the lights going down and the crowd’s expected reaction, .Paak emerged within the square enclose. He slowly emerged out the top, pounding away at the drums as pyrotechnics blasted away away at the bottom of the stage. It was intense and gave .Paak’s tune even more power.
Along with his backing band the Free Nationals, .Paak delivered his majestic sound to Lake Michigan playing tracks from each of his California Beach titled albums. Malibu, Oxnard, Ventura, and a single song off Venice delighted the Huntington Pavilion crowd. Every track, from the late in the set “Bubblin'”, the always fun “Come Down”, and the vibey “Trippy” were handed to the crowd with undeniable intensity. There is honestly no one as charismatic as Anderson .Paak and this set proved it. His every dance move, line, and drum solo was filled with the perfect amount of bravado to get the crowd hyped up and dancing as the evening came to a close.
All photos by Julian Ramirez