Whenever someone says Thundercat, people will think of either the cult cartoon series from the 80s...
They'll start mimicking one of the well known, intricately written and beautiful bass lines written by the musical nerd. This would be my second time seeing him and after listening to "Drunk" in fairly quick time, I knew something special was going to happen. The venue - Albert Hall in Manchester.
Once I'd got in excitement was building amongst the patrons. Tunes by Flying Lotus and others were quietly playing in the background. Cue the subtle head nods once people clocked onto what tune was playing. There were conversations of his previous tours, shows, EP etc.
I had no idea who the support act was, so imagine my shock and utter happiness when KNOWER walked on stage and played a mega beasty set! I'm gutted they didn't play “Overtime” but still, PHAT. Having them open up for the main man made absolute sense, what with their own crazy solos and riffs flooding our ears crazily.
Soon afterwards, he comes on stage in a beautiful glittery sequined jacket, embracing his limitless eccentricity with pride. Everyone is cheering and screaming...and as soon as he holds his bass and walks up to the microphone, craziness ensues. I managed to sneak into a gap right at the front. I CAN SEE HIM, YES! Thanks universe!
Onwards from there was an eclectic mix of technically complicated bass riffs, chords and solos, mad drum fills, cascades of keys and even an unexpected violin solo too, all the while he’d thank the audience after each song with calm humility. Steadily moving through his set, before we knew it, he was gearing up to play “Tokyo” and changed the lyrics to “Overwatch” instead, adding a humble comedic element to his showmanship.
You could tell he was warming up for a massive finale…
After “Tokyo” came “Drunk.” Everyone cheered as the intro synth line was played, and soon we were singing along happily: “I’M YOUR BIGGEST FAN BUT I GUESS THAT’S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH! …”
Thundercat smiled as we sang along with him, shouting “Yeah!” in contentment. We’ve all been there...
And soon, as he thanked the crowd, his drummer started to play THAT BEAT… THAT FAMOUS BEAT, signifying that Thundercat was going to end on “Them Changes.” I was yelling a lot at this point: I clocked on early, I’ll admit that...and I’m proud to admit that too!
Some attendees were singing the bass riff just as Thundercat started to play it, cue a massive cheer!
Once again we sang along to this special extended version of “Them Changes”, (“NOBODY MOVE, THERE’S BLOOD ON THE FLOOR”) coupled with even more crazy improvisations from everyone onstage...soon it was over. He thanked everyone and left the stage...and I had to run and catch my train sadly.
As I left though, he came back out and started to play one more song...I was content regardless. He played my favourite songs and it was an awesome night. All of sequins and video game references.
All of them.
Plus I spotted Lianne La Havas in the VIP bit… I left with a massive smile.
Can’t, and shall never, complain.
Photography courtesy of Jack Kirwin
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