Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals Rock Columbiahalle: In review

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals Rock packed Columbiahalle again this year and rocked it even harder than last time.

After solid opening performances from Tayla Parx and Serious Klein, late arriving guests ran like bats out of hell to get the last good spots as .Paak and the band started off with The Chase.

“It’s great to be back in Berlin!…and this time with a Grammy,” said .Paak with a big, shiny smile after he thanked the crowd for coming out. This year he won best Rap Performance for Bubblin off his second album Malibu, after nominations for Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album in 2017.

Last June at Columbiahalle, .Paak’s energy and excitement on the drums sometimes let him a little ahead of the rest. This year everyone was extremely tight and brought even more variation and expression to their epic jazz solos.  All the musicians were epically staged on three different levels –.Paak sitting front and centre on the huge drum set – all amplifying an awesome stage presence.

With so many people in the venue, .Paak crowd-surfed swimmingly while singing through half of Saviers Road. Hard hip-hop beats from Who R U had everyone’s hands and heads bouncing up and down. Electronic vibes from Glowed Up (prod. by Kaytronada) flowed into faster, more rock sounding rhythms in some tracks, thanks to the live bass and guitar covering mostly R&B styled productions.

After about an hour and a half they started to wind things down with King James, a laid-back protest anthem named after Lebron James. In it, .Paak highlights James’ philanthropic efforts, shows support for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and laments the loss of love in a country nonplussed by pathetic politicians and gravely pained by police brutally.

King James is the first single to be released from .Paak’s fourth studio album, Ventura, coming out April 12th. Featuring legends like Andre 3000 and the late Nate Dog, .Paak and the band are already set to show off the new songs in the Best Teef in the Game Tour with Thundercat, Mac DeMarco and others.

No new dates are set for Berlin yet, but we’re hoping they’ll be back before summer’s end.

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