Throughout history there are times where the lucky few get to say “I was there” for rare magical moments in music. Inside O2 Academy Brixton this week was one of those moments, and I get to say it. I was there.
Brandon Paak Anderson or as we all know him, Anderson .Paak took to the academy stage for the one-night only concert sponsored by Apple Music (their first major event since stopping the Apple Music festival), his latest single ’Til It’s Over soundtracks the Apples HomePod advert.
The free .Paak show advertised itself as ‘Presented by Dr. Dre’. On route to the show a close friend and I debated the chance of Dre actually appearing at the show and settled with an almost certain – never. The last UK Dre performance happened four years ago when he joined Eminem at Wembley, leaving the likelihood of getting a performance from the previous NWA member slim to none. But it happened.
The crowd jumped in waves as the Compton rapper performed his 2001 tracks ‘Still D.R.E’ and ‘The Next Episode’ with .Paak bouncing along as if to be his hype man. It’s not the first time Dre has crashed .Paak’s set as he joined him on stage during his 2016 Cochella set sending fans nuts over in the States too. Dre told the crowd “This man here is defined to be a superstar” and he’s not wrong.
.Paak poured out infectious energy into the crowd during his hour long set where he went between jumping around the stage, to taking to the drum kit. His fusion of hip-hop and smooth jazz making for a truly incomparable sound. The set ran through both old and new tracks including the dreamiest cover of his track produced by Kaytranada ‘Glowed Up’ mixed in with some of R.Kellys ‘Ignition’. Adoring fans belted along to each and every lyric as he showered the venue with both talent and charisma.
I’d read a review on a previous .Paak performance which mentioned that he was able to hold a crowds attention like no other artist. That you could feel in sync with the energy on stage, completely locked in to every word, every funky beat, every hypnotic move and I wasn’t sure If I understood what this meant until after the show. Now I get it. His charming ways had you falling in love with him and his music for every moment you were in his presence.
His performance was truly memorable, not for just the few thousand fans that managed to witness the madness live before them, but as one of those magical musical moments that will go down in history.