Anderson .Paak brings his star power to House of Blues’ stage

Anderson .Paak performing at the House of Blues on Friday, July 29, 2016.
Photo: L.E. Baskow
Mike Pizzo

Four stars

Anderson .Paak July 29, House of Blues.

Anderson .Paak hit the stage 30 minutes after his scheduled 8:30 time slot, wise since folks were still pouring in to the already packed house. DJ 88 introduced .Paak and his band, The Free Nationals, to the room of newly religious fans, who treated him as if he had already reached Prince levels of status. And in time, he will, as Saturday’s show proved what I’ve long suspected about him: This man is a star.

Sounding exactly as he does on record, Paak attacked the stage, gyrating with elastic movements and Jagger-esque swagger. “F*ck fame, that sh*t killed all my favorite entertainers,” he sang, kicking off the show just as he does on his Malibu album with “The Season.” He later followed up with the track’s second part, a heavy, psychedelic rendition of his ode to scuffed Jordans, “Carry Me.”

Anderson .Paak House of Blues

“Don’t I make it look easy?” he cried during the Hi-Tek produced “Come Down,” which found him simultaneously rapping, singing and playing drums, without missing a beat. The crowd greeted each song with cheers, singing along to every word, even though Paak doesn’t have a platinum hit to his name.

The scene was reminiscent of Eminem’s first performance in that same room 17 years ago: a relatively new face that has quickly amassed a devout audience, unconcerned about his status level. The room was hot, sweaty and stunk, but we were all having too much fun to care.

Paak’s incredible stage presence and musicianship mirrored that of his recent 2016 BET Awards performance. He gave Las Vegas a concise, hourlong show, leaving on a high note with a snippet of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” to an appreciative crowd.

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