Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals LeBreton Flats Park, Ottawa ON, July 14

Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals LeBreton Flats Park, Ottawa ON, July 14
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
The looming threat of a thunderstorm put a damper on Anderson .Paak's much-awaited Ottawa debut, but the California musician assured each and every person who turned out for his Friday night co-headlining performance wouldn't regret a single moment of it.
Hitting the stage with his four-piece band, the Free Nationals, .Paak required nary a song or two to get the crowd amped up, immediately leaping onto a riser at the front of the stage, urging the crowd to "Get ready to party!" Kicking the show off with the unlikely opener "Milk n' Honey," from his 2014 debut Venice, .Paak launched into the single "Come Down" from last year's Malibu LP, keeping the on stage energy impossibly high, leaping, dancing and skanking across the roomy stage.
Pumping the crowd up even further through a call-and-response that kicked off tight versions of "The Waters" and "The Season/Carry Me" with the latter culminating in .Paak jumping behind a full drum kit to assist the song's punky beat. As the crowd roared throughout the track's conclusion, .Paak got onto the mic to inform those in attendance that the rest of the performance would be postponed due to "severe weather."
After 30 minutes of steady drizzle and a few off-the-horizon lightning strikes, .Paak returned to the stage, hopping right back behind the drums to give the shrunken crowd an electrifying rendition of "Put Me Thru" that allowed guitarist Jose Rios and bassist Kelsey Gonzalaz to brilliantly hold down the groove.
Moving back behind the mic, .Paak thanked the crowd for sticking with him, while promising that the remainder of his truncated show would be a party. Closing the interrupted 40-minute performance (which was now running into the headliner Live's proposed set time) with "Am I Wrong," the audience wildly begged for one more track, which Anderson gratefully obliged with the fittingly titled, "Luh You." Throughout his hampered performance, .Paak kept promising the audience a party, and against all odds, he absolutely delivered.