Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals bring dazzling show to Birmingham ahead of Reading and Leeds Festival sets - review with pictures

Birmingham | Music | Published:

There are few things better than listening to synth-pop infused LA hip-hop on a sunny summers evening, except when it’s accompanied by one of the slickest bands to ever grace the stage.

Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. Pictures by: James Stride

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals provided just that feeling and so much more last night at Birmingham's O2 Academy.

Rolling through the city as part of a whirlwind three stop tour, the California native brought every ounce of his enthused American love for life and drenched the Academy stage with it.

With the crowd in the splash zone, attendees were left soaking and simultaneously thirsty all in one exceptional evening of entertainment.

Prepping for their stint at the upcoming Reading and Leeds festival, .Paak and co took no time getting into their groove, beginning with a sublime rendition of Heart Don’t Stand a Chance, from the 2016 album Malibu.

Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. Pictures by: James Stride

Building their sonic ensemble one incredible artist at a time, each of the Free Nationals entered the stage alone, with only their instruments in hand as if to avoid imploding the venue from a nucleus of awesome musical prowess.

Once each integral piece was in place, all that was left was for Anderson himself to take centre stage at the helm. Consisting of a gorgeous rose thorn entwined drum set raised ever so slightly above standing level, his positioning was perfect from which to conduct his group of superhuman musicians.

With an incredible discography dating back only a short time to 2010, .Paak’s hitlist includes some dance inducing classics that even the most concrete of footed couldn’t stand still to.


A show stopping performance of Come Down had the crowd in absolute fits of excitement, with the star's impassioned crooning leaving the room hanging on every single sound.

Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. Pictures by: James Stride

Vying for top spot on the entertainment scale all evening was the internal battle for stage supremacy between Anderson’s vocal performance and his incredible joie de vivre, which manifested through his wild James Brown-inspired dancing.

Repeatedly bringing the packed out audience to a simultaneous stand still with his incredible stage presence, those in attendance certainly got every ounce of energy they were expecting from what can only be described as a perfect musical troupe.

If you are luckily enough to get the opportunity to find yourself at an Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals gig, or if you’re attending Reading or Leeds this year, just make sure to keep your phone in your pocket and put your dancing shoes on.

Review and pictures by James Stride


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