Every year I find myself continually overwhelmed by the magnitude of talent that Laneway Festival brings to Australia.
Easily one of the strongest festival bills of the year (so far), Laneway offered up a limited number of side shows to the Sydney masses, one of which included the Los Angeles funk and hip hop connoisseur Anderson .Paak.
With the addition of his band, The Free Nationals, Anderson. Paak delivered one of the most energetic and mesmerising shows (6 February) of the year, setting an almost unattainable precedent for any act yet to play Metro Theatre.
A melting pot of electronic funk and incredible musicianship, Paak’s live show left a lasting impression on the sweaty Sydney crowd.
Bursting onto the stage, Paak launched into his single 'Come Down' reviving the crowd from their midweek stupor. His enthusiasm was infectious, encouraging the crowd to dance along with the beat while he bounded across the stage; it was hard not to get caught up in the pageantry of the performance.
Anderson .Paak seems to toe the line between unruly rap and rich soul with his music, creating these unlikely troughs of heavy, electronic beats and cynical romanticism. This was really evident through the transitions between tracks such as 'Milk And Honey' and its melancholic counterpart, 'Heart Don’t Stand A Chance'.
While the audience yearned for the classics from his earlier albums, Paak’s strongest tracks of the set came from his latest offering, 'Malibu'. It seems to show a progression for The Free Nationals as a band, redistributing the focus across the entire stage rather than entirely at the vocalist.
Guitarists Kelsey Gonzales and Jose Rios injected a taste of hard rock into their Sydney set, while Ron Tnava Avant (keys, backing vocals) brought along enough rhythm and soul to entice even the most reserved audience members to surrender to the funk.
Anderson .Paak is indisputably one of the best drummers in the world at this point, and if you don’t believe me then you’ve clearly never seen his live show. His unrivalled energy and passion gives way to a frenzied, yet incredibly proficient drumming display.
It wasn’t until halfway through his set that Paak actually picked up his drumsticks, and it was certainly worth the wait. While there are very few shows that truly live up to their expectations, Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals seem to surpass them effortlessly.
Dynamic and captivating, Anderson .Paak is a force to be reckoned with and it’s highly unlikely that there’ll be another chance to catch the band in such an intimate setting.
If you’ve been contemplating picking up a last-minute Laneway Festival ticket, stop hesitating and buy the damn ticket.