Photo by DYLAN LONG
When I found out that Anderson .Paak (pronounced pak) used to go by the name Breezy Lovejoy, I couldn’t help but smile. After seeing his live show at the Fillmore last night alongside a couple thousand fans who crammed themselves as far up front as they could, I learned firsthand that the name suits him all too well. The acclaimed funkster’s stop at the Fillmore was part of his Andy’s Beach Club world tour, aptly named given that his entire discography takes wing on a perpetual summer breeze. Surrounded by his partners in crime, the R&B ensemble Free Nationals, Paak completed several full 360 rotations around the stage throughout the night, transitioning from frontman, to ripping it up behind the drum kit, then back on the mic. He was all smiles all night.
“If only there was more room to dance,” everyone in the crowd surely must have thought at some point or another. Paak and the Free Nationals pumped out groovy breakdowns galore, clearly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd. The setlist included several tracks from his newly released Oxnard LP, a titular homage to his California hometown, which we can now pinpoint as the likely breeding ground for Paak’s endless summer state of mind. Paak laid down major hits like “Bubblin,” which recently netted him an Oscar for Best Rap Performance, alongside one Kendrick Lamar whom he teamed up with for Oxnard’s “Tints.”
More goodness came in the form of “Beauty & Essex” single that dropped in the fall with cameos from Canadian heartthrob Daniel Caesar and New Zealand psychedelic weirdos Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Intricate and soulful melodies reverberated throughout the room, backed by tight and succinct drum breaks and Paak’s scruffy, high pitched vocals. The Paak and co. continued jamming for well over an hour, at times slowing things down in the name of lengthy groove sessions in which Paak would shout out to all the “weirdos, people who smoke too much fuckin’ weed,” and “people who be losin’ their phone all the time,” emitting charismatic laughter throughout. What I’d long-suspected was proven true beyond a reasonable doubt last night at the Fillmore: the music of Anderson .Paak is the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind. — DYLAN LONG