Sometimes you just know you’re in for a great show. At Thundercat’s LA show at the Wiltern this past Saturday, that moment of realization was when Knxwledge (who was just DJing before Guapdad 4000 came out to open) brought out Anderson .Paak to perform a couple of songs from their joint NxWorries project. It was probably when the entire crowd starting moving to that unbelievable Knxwledge beat on “Suede” that we all thought, “yeah… this will be a special night.”
After the Knxwledge set, Guapdad 4000 exploded out from backstage and lit up the crowd with his youthful exuberance and passion for hydration (the crowd exploded in applause whenever he took a sip of water). It was a brief set, but Guapdad did perform a few of his excellent contributions to Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III collaborative album. He also brought out a guest in the form of one of LA’s most promising up and comers, Buddy. All in all, Guapdad 4000 brought the energy necessary to carry this sold-out crowd into Thundercat’s more low-key set.
Thundercat emerged from backstage decked out in a sparkling top that gleamed beautifully under the Wiltern’s lights, with his pink bass hanging by his chest. As soon as his performance began, his band’s prowess was clear. The keyboardist arpeggiated chord after chord beautifully, and the drummer’s ability to not just keep up with, but enhance Thundercat’s wild improvisation was extremely impressive. Thundercat even made a joke late in the show about how beautiful it was to hear him, “arpeggiate with his hands.” The setlist was primarily composed of songs from Thundercat’s first four solo releases, however, the highlight of the whole show was definitely his performance of “Dragonball Durag,” the third single from his upcoming album, It Is What It Is. The silly Zack Fox-directed music video played on the screen behind Thundercat, while the entire venue remained fully locked into the grooves for the entirety of the song, only pausing to laugh or applaud at the ridiculous video.
One of the best parts of this show was the connection that Thundercat was able to build with the crowd over the course of the night through personal anecdotes, jokes, and just letting his amazing personality shine through. He told stories about loved ones that he’s lost, like fellow Brainfeeder label mate Austin Peralta and hip-hop savant Mac Miller. These anecdotes were never presented as something to be sad over; instead, Thundercat mentioned these friends as a way to let the audience into what motivates his creative process, and who made him the incredible musician that he is today.
The show concluded with an amazing rendition of another one of Thundercat’s new singles, “Black Qualls.” He brought out Steve Arrington, Steve Lacy, and Flying Lotus to perform by his side in what felt like the perfect homage to loving collaborations on which to end the show.
File Photo: Owen Ela
Thundercat Live at The Wiltern Setlist:
- Great Scott 22-26
- Captain Stupido
- I Love Louis Cole
- How Sway
- Dragonball Durag
- A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)
- Tron Song
- Heartbreaks + Setbacks
- Friend Zone
- Song for the Dead
- Unrequited Love
- Lone Wolf and Cub
- Funny Thing
- Them Changes
Encore : Black Qualls (w/ Steve Arrington, Steve Lacy, and Flying Lotus)