Free, intimate concerts freckle across Los Angeles County every month. Record stores like Fingerprints in Long Beach and Amoeba in Hollywood play homage to up-and-coming artists by giving audiences a glimpse of what’s to come.
Oxnard bred drummer and vocalist Anderson .Paak, also known as Breezy Lovejoy, performed a free gig at Amoeba Records in Hollywood on Tuesday. He was accompanied by friends and band mates, The Free Nationals.
“I’ve known him for many years,” Jose Rios, guitarist for The Free Nationals, said. “The music that he plays is music that we make together. It’s real to us. It’s real life.”
After a year of creating and dribbling out singles, opening for DJs and posting music videos on Youtube, .Paak released his debut album, “Venice,” on Tuesday. After the show, the crowd was able to purchase “Venice” then head back to the stage to get a photo and autograph from .Paak.
“Something that we worked on for like a year straight is out now, and it’s affecting people,” .Paak said. “It’s amazing to see it. It never gets old.”
Kelly Barillas, 21, from Norwalk first discovered Anderson .Paak while seeing him open for Jhene Aiko at the Nokia Theatre in September. She wrote down his name and liked his blend of rap, jazz and rock enough to track down his next show.
“He’s different,” Barillas said. “He’s R&B and hip hop.”
Growing up under a musically eclectic roof and playing the drums for over 10 years has given .Paak the building blocks to his unique sound.
“My mom played a lot of soul music, funk and R&B growing up. So that’s, like, my foundation,” .Paak said. “It was never just one thing. I was just used to everything and I think that’s what carried over into the music I make today.”
About 50 fans grooved around the stage, filling out several rows of the merchandise aisles. .Paak’s set included an hours worth of head-nod-worthy beats from his album “Venice,” including the single “Drugs.”
“The number one thing I like about playing live is being able to interact with the people [and] feed off their energy,” .Paak said. “Reaching that level outside of myself is what I like the most … [It’s great] to not be so insecure and just be on stage and let it out.”
Zach Acosta, a 25-year-old audio engineer from Arizona, has attended many of Amoeba’s free concerts. He preached about the importance of live shows, arguing that a great live performance is important for new artists.
“I think a great performance shows how much of an artist you really are,” Acosta said. “It’s cool to see people who can really perform and really show that they’re into what they’re doing.”
.Paak said that he also believes that live shows are essential. His ability to rally up a modest motley of supporters on an early Tuesday evening made clear that a crowd’s reception is crucial to him.
“In this day and age a lot has suffered [in the music industry] but [what] has come out [of it are] good live shows and the appreciation for buying music,” .Paak said. “We want to be able to compete with electronic dance music DJs and be able to put on something that people will come out to every time.”
.Paak and The Free Nationals will be playing on Friday at Salzer’s Records in Ventura at 6 p.m. His debut album “Venice” is available in stores and on iTunes.