Review: Anderson .Paak Live At London’s KOKO
The West Coast boy captures the crowd with snakehips, R&B groves and unrelenting entertainment...
Before a young, drunk and dance-happy 1410 capacity crowd in London’s KOKO, beaming US neo-soul musician Anderson .Paak stepped on stage, with a clear mission to dazzle the crowd. “London, are you ready to lose your mind?” he shouted, with a surging energy level that instantly magnetised the eager audience.
Wearing slick patent lace-up shoes, and a gold lamé hoodie, he soon lost the celebrity trademark sunglasses to get a good look at the venue’s tiered crowd. With this, a 40 minute pit-stop gig on his break from the Bruno Mars 24k Magic World Tour, the LA native launched into an ambitious set with his beloved band, The Free Nationals.
As a 30-year-old with a rags-to-riches history of loss, struggle and finally success, .Paak cut to the chase with no sign of long tour same songs fatigue. He seduced the audience with the ambient, Kaytranada produced GLOWED UP and gyrated his way through the knowing and jubilant Come Down. This is pure party time, and while Anderson kept the vibe euphoric yet professional, The Free Nationals team entertain at the back with a light and frothy spirit.
Jumping to his drum kit he reminds the audience he is more than all singing and grinding - the man has major music chops. With the absence of Prince hanging heavy in the air, .Paak’s singular stage presence offers hope for the future of sound. Continuing with his unrelenting quest to entertain he takes charge at the audience and begins to surf them.
Anderson returned to the stage slightly abashed and breathless. There's no slowing the dancing down though, and he picks himself back up to continue with the Am I Wrong finale. Although crash landing probably wasn't what he envisioned for the evening; it looped everyone back with vigour to the positive message that runs through .Paak's music - it's not always easy to keep going, but the show's going to go on anyway.
Words: Sophie O'Kelly
Online Edit: Ra'ed Khan