LIVE REVIEW: Thundercat @ O2 Academy Brixton

Thundercat
Credit: Alina Salihbekova

Stephen Lee Bruner, aka Thundercat, is an American bass player, singer and songwriter and a two-time Grammy winner. He's known for his unique style in both fashion and music and for his work with such musicians as Kendrick Lamar, Steve Lacy, Childish Gambino and Mac Miller, to whom he dedicated his last Grammy-winning album, It is What it is.

On the 3rd of April, he had a much anticipated sold-out gig at the O2 Academy Brixton as a part of his It is What it is tour. You could see his fans wearing his signature cat ears in the audience. Before Thundercat's performance, comedian Munya Chawawa suddenly came on stage, stating that he was asked by Thundercat himself to do a little stand-up. The audience greeted the comedian very warmly. Munya's bit about how Americans, specifically American reaction YouTubers, view British music and vice versa was spot-on and witty. His charismatic performance was a perfect way to start the show.

Thundercat
Credit: Alina Salihbekova

Then the main act himself, Thundercat, appeared on stage, alongside keyboard player Dennis Hamm and drummer Justin Brown. They were standing on the special stage that was built on top of the main stage. There was a string curtain in front of the stage for the first half of the show, which added intimacy to Thundercat's performance, almost as if we were peeking into his room while he was jamming his music.

Throughout the whole gig, Thundercat was actively communicating with the audience and sharing personal stories. Before playing his song A Message for Austin, which he usually dedicates to Mac Miller, he shared how Taylor Hawkins, the late drummer of Foo Fighters, specifically his performance with Alanis Morissette, inspired Stephen's older brother Ronald Bruner Jr., who's now a successful drummer. The song was dedicated to Tyler and how he inspired generations of artists.

There were moments when all three musicians - Thundercat, Dennis and Justin - completely lost themselves in music while they jammed together and just enjoyed the moment to the audience's amusement. The crowd's reaction to those special jamming sessions was extremely positive. The atmosphere was absolutely delightful. We hope Thundercat understands how much he inspires all of the artists out there to do whatever they want and to stay true to themselves, just like he does. And we can't wait to see him touring in the UK again.

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