Review: Anderson.Paak at the Olympia, Dublin

Anderson Paak. Picture:

Anderson.Paak, The Olympia, Dublin

Drake may have been playing across town at 3Arena, but nobody who was at the Olympia for the first of two sold-out nights by Anderson.Paak would have felt they were at the wrong gig.

The 33-year-old Californian unleashed a show that underlined why he's one of urban music's brightest stars, producing quality fare that's also glossy enough to draw in fans from the pop world.

After learning his trade with various luminaries of the music scene in his home state, Paak broke through in 2016 with Malibu. That superb album blended elements of old-school funk and soul with jazz, hip-hop and other genres in a way that felt it was more a natural coming-together of influences than any planned attempts at crossover.

Oxnard followed late last year, and while arguably not as much of a landmark record, it showed Paak's growing punching-power with guest spots from the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg.

The latter album provides much of the early part of tonight's set, with Paak and his six-piece Free Nationals letting rip with frenetic energy.

The show is a big production, complete with a row of fog jets at the front of the stage blasting at key moments.

Even everyone in the seated areas are up on their feet as, frankly, it'd be impossible not to.

Soon the main man does a dive off the stage for a spot of risky crowd-surfing. A rendition of 'Ole, ole, ole' from the crowd is the final box ticked - the Olympia is definitely in party mode.

Paak is sort of uber-talented musical multi-tasker that brings comparisons to Pharrell Williams. One moment he's melting hearts with his sweet soul voice; next he's rapping with the flow of a top MC; there he is, leading from the front, throwing shapes around the stage as he sings; now look, he's behind the drums, expertly working his way around the kit.

Earlier stars such as Karen Carpenter and Phil Collins found that trying to be both drummer and lead singer in the live setting can be difficult, but you get the feeling it'd take a lot to prize Paak from those skins.

Sound problems threatened to derail Malibu standout 'Come Down', but he just about got away with it. Big single 'Tints' was another highlight, while latest release 'King James' was played without any speechifying on how it's an ode to basketball great Lebron James and his efforts to inspire the African-American community.

We got a touch of showbiz when the cannons fill the air with confetti, but a heartfelt tribute provides the final track, a cover of 'Dang' by his close friend, the late Mac Miller.

The crowd reaction, and the fact that Anderson.Paak still seems to be bursting with music, probably means he'll be the one playing 3Arena on his next visit.

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