Review and Photos by Zach Arquilevich
I could feel the anticipation to see Thundercat from the second I stepped out of my car at the Shrine. I walked to the box office to get my ticket, and I noticed a sea of people stretched around the block waiting to get in. Lewis Cole was just finishing his set when I arrived inside the venue, so I made my way to the balcony to get a few pics.
I knew Channel Tres was up next; I had never listened to him before, and he completely shattered my expectations. His set was full of energy, and he had the whole crowd jumping to “Topdown.” Tres’ stage presence was incredible, and his backup dancers' choreography was just as impressive.
Next up was Flying Lotus whose DJ set shook the ground the entire time. He finished his set with a sped up version of Drake’s “Champagne Poetry,” which had the whole crowd going crazy as soon as they heard the chopped up sample of Masego’s “Navajo.”
When Thundercat entered the stage through the mouth of a giant cat sculpture it was already 11:45pm, but the energy hadn’t died down one bit. He greeted the crowd with a story about how he went to middle school a few blocks away, and then jumped into his album opener, “Great Scott/22-26.” He later had the whole crowd singing along to “Dragonball Durag.”
The Second half of the show featured surprise visits from Este and Danielle of Haim, Ty Dolla $ign, Steve Lacy, and Kamasi Washington. At one point near the end, Thundercat shared a very personal story about sobriety and losing his friend, Mac Miller. As a tribute he played Mac Miller’s “What’s the Use?” which he has writing, bass, and vocal credits on. The night ended with everyone singing along to “Funny Thing,” and Thundercat thanking his hometown for showing up before heading offstage.