February 4, 2016
Oxnard, California is a city on the coast famous for its sun ripened strawberries. It may soon be famous for another export. 30 year old Anderson .Paak, a native son of Oxnard, is finally seeing his lifelong dedication to making music bear its own fruit. Homeless with a newborn not so long ago, .Paak, real name Brandon Paak Anderson, never wavered from his commitment to making his own way in the world. Refusing to settle, he honed his craft and developed his style. The period before Paak in his stage name stands for details, he says. Makes sense. The music he's creating these days is anything but sloppy.
As a producer, the genres he can handle span the sonic spectrum from R&B to rock to electronic to classic soul to hip hop. As a vocalist, his raspy tone is a thing of beauty whether he spits a verse or sings. He effortlessly transitions back and forth between the two, equally adept at both. As a writer, he can wear his heart on his sleeve, seduce your woman, make you think, or just get the party going. To top things off he's a damn good drummer. He got his start behind the kit at a local church when he was a boy. I mean, the guy just oozes talent. Dr. Dre, legendary for his ability to identify the next big thing, not only brought in Anderson to work on 6 tracks of his Compton album, he signed him to Aftermath on January 30th. After hearing his latest release, Malibu, on the day it came out (January 15), I immediately got a pair of tickets to see him at S.O.B.'s. Within a couple days, word of how good his album was had spread like wildfire. Needless to say, the show sold out. $12 tickets were being sold on Stubhub for $150. I kept mine. I'm glad I did. Anderson .Paak delivered at S.O.B.'s.
There aren't many stone cold locks in sports or music, but I'd bet my teeth that Anderson won't be playing small venues much longer. Working through song after song off Malibu, as well as strong cuts from his previous album Venice, the club felt electric. One of the most diverse audiences I've ever seen at a concert was completely unified in their love of his music. New songs, only a couple weeks old, were greeted with screams of approval & then a chorus of voices singing along. Joined by his band, The Free Nationals, Anderson was either up front working the room or behind the drums laying it down. Front to back, start to finish, it was a superb performance. Scroll down to see some of the photos I took of the night, including the solid opening acts, Jay Watts and Marcus Machado.