If Thundercat ever comes to a city near you, come fully prepared knowing that it’s not going to be a typical set, it’s most definitely going to get weird and funky.
This past week at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, Thundercat served up a show that fans would surely remember for the rest of their lives. To open up the night, one of hip-hop’s finest producers, Knxwledge, took to the stage for a DJ set. If you’re unfamiliar with Knxwledge’s work, he rose to fame by collaborating with Anderson .Paak on a project called NxWorries in 2016. We’d highly recommend checking out their album titled, Yes Lawd! Nearly 15 minutes into Knxwledge’s set, he brought out .Paak himself for a beautiful version of their hit, “Suede”. The crowd instantly went into a frenzy, the aisles filled with fans filming, and we all collectively appreciated what we were witnessing. What a perfect start to the night.
Not too long after Knxwledge’s set finished up, Thundercat and his three-piece band entered from stage right and assumed their positions. Rocking a shiny embezzled suit jacket and a neon pink six-string bass, Thundercat jumped right into a 10 minute semi-improvised jam that took us all by surprise. Quickly after, the band ripped through their hits such as “Captain Stupido”, “A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)”, and the freshly released “Dragonball Durag”.
Throughout the set and in between songs, Thundercat reminded us all to cherish one another as he lamented on the recent passings of his best friends and longtime collaborators, Austin Peralta and Mac Miller. An onlooking Ariana Grande in the crowd was visibly in tears as his speech went on and hit home. His tribute extended to those we’ve lost recently and a very fitting song choice of “Heartbreaks + Setbacks” was played right after. After bringing us down for a bit, the energy quickly ramped back up as we entered the back half of the set. Thundercat took us on a journey through his discography featuring hits from his albums Drunk and Apocalypse. The main set ended with arguably his most well known song, “Them Changes”, which had the crowd in a full on sway shouting nearly every lyric.
As we all cheered and wooed for an encore, three extra microphones were added to the front of the stage. Needless to say, the crowd was hyped for what was about to go down. Thundercat re-entered onto the stage and informed us that he’d be closing out the set by bringing on his friends Flying Lotus, The Internet’s Steve Lacy, and legendary producer Steve Arrington. The supergroup closed out the set with Thundercat’s most recent single release, “Black Qualls”, which considering they’re all credited on the recorded version, this was a big deal. A more perfect ending to this show could not have possibly been written.
Thundercat’s fourth studio album, It Is What It Is, is set to release on April 3. Additionally, you can catch him on his world tour extending through August in the USA, Mexico, Europe, and select countries in Asia. Check out his upcoming tour dates and more information here.
Words by Austin Sher
Photos by Sarah Woods