Anderson .Paak at Kentish Town Forum, review - Riding the wave through a joyous set with The Free Nationals

Roisin O'Connor
Anderson .Paak with The Free Nationals and The Internet at Kentish Town Forum: Anderson .Paak/Twitter

Bouncing straight into ‘Come Down’, Anderson .Paak brings the energy to London’s Kentish Town Forum and doesn’t let it wane for a second during his set.

Flanked by the Free Nationals he twists and gyrates around the stage, revelling in the screams that ring out as he jumps onto a table at the front for ‘The Waters’ and whips his round sunglasses off with an easy grin.

Delighted to have an audience who are so completely receptive to his music – they know every single word – he holds the mic out constantly, as if he’s just checking that they’re still paying attention.

Guitarist Jose Rios is drenched in sweat halfway through the set as he grinds out a riff; and the entire venue acquires its own atmosphere as the band rides the wave through tracks off Venice [2015] and the Grammy-nominated Malibu [2016].

Bringing out The Internet as surprise guests, .Paak takes a step back as Syd performs "Girl", their Kaytranada-produced single off 2015’s Ego Death (.Paak performs his own Kaytranada track, "GLOWED UP", earlier on in the set) , ahead of the woozy neo-soul of "Am I Wrong" – "I’m only coming out to play," he sings.

Leaping onto his drum kit, he shows off the musical prowess that allows him to maintain smooth-as-silk vocal work on "The Season/Carry Me" and "Heart Don’t Stand a Chance", never missing a beat.

.Paak’s music is pure as it comes and time seems to melt away as he dances on and on, touching close to a two-hour set by the encore: a well-worn skit between him and the Free Nationals sees them staggering around the stage and bumping into one another with the joyous, shivery buzzing trip that is "Drugs".

Closing on "The Dreamer", he has every member of the audience singing with him – "keep dreaming, don’t stop now" – not thinking about whatever’s going on outside the venue, just of the sheer joy and hope that comes with .Paak’s music, and ecstatic at his promise that there’s more to come.