Review: Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals

It was a heck of a night at the Phoenix Concert Theatre last Friday, as recording artist and music producer Anderson .Paak made his way to Toronto, all part of his world tour along with his band The Free Nationals. As concert goers were arriving at the venue, opening acts Duckwrth and Pomo kicked off the show and kept the crowd alive, despite the overbearing heatwave.

First up was Duckwrth, a rapper and graphic designer from South Central Los Angeles, whose set included lots of hair flipping and jumping around on stage (something I’m not too fond of), as well as a performance of his latest song ‘Get Ugly’. Duckwrth is known for his multiple collaborations with producer The Kickdrums, whose worked with the likes of Kanye West, Kid Cudi and 50 Cent. His album Nowhere” is currently available on iTunes.

Pomo, the young Vancouver-based producer was up next and his set was just incredible! His genre is more electronic dance if anything, and his music slightly reminded me of Canadian producer Kaytranada, with whom he’s worked with in the past. His beats are influenced more by hip-hop, house and 80’s funk music. Just this year, his debut EP, “The Other Day, which won him a Juno for ‘Electronic Album of the Year’. He’s currently in the process of making new music. Yup, things are looking up for Pomo and we look forward to hearing more from him very soon.


And finally, the man we had all been waiting for – Anderson .Paak. He showed up on stage (and on-time!) in a white jean jacket, black pants, and a hat. Soon enough, the music starts playing and .Paak is singing, rapping and spinning all over the place; his energy was insane! To some, it probably seems as though he appeared out of nowhere, when in fact he’s been in the business for five years.

His big break came after Dr. Dre had Anderson .Pakk‘s song ‘Suede’ on repeat and without a doubt, featured him on his album ‘Compton’. Next thing you know, he lands a major record deal onto Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment label. Since then, he’s been performing at Coachella, the BET awards, and he’s got critics raving about his album ‘Malibu’ – critics have been saying that it’s by far his best work yet.


Not only did he nail his performance of “The Season/ Carry Me” and “Put Me Thru” that night, but he stunned the crowd with his drumming skills throughout the show, which turned out to be my favourite moment of the night.

A video posted by BestFan (@bestfanblog) on

Fans couldn’t get enough of the west coast singer-songwriter as they demanded not one but two encores. He proceeded performs singles like, “The Bird“, “Am I Wrong” and much more.


After this show, Anderson .Pakk continues is the rest of his world tour. We’re excited to see what he brings after locking a deal with Dr. Dre‘s Aftermath Records. With artists like The Game, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar taking off after being understudies to the Dre, we can only anticipate what Anderson .Pakk will bring to music come his major label album release.

Photos by: Jonathan Joseph


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