Stephen Bruner, aka Thundercat, is dressed in a white and black striped t-shirt with socks and Birkenstocks. He looks sailor-esque, and tonight he certainly captained the boat-cum-music venue Thekla. Huddled together in the heart of Bristol, the crowd is initially lured in with lush melodies of ‘Rabbot Ho’. Bruner’s flawless falsetto against his deep six string bass is stunning, and we are quickly taken down this rabbit hole to another musical dimension entirely.
Thundercat, accompanied by Justin Brown on drums and Dennis Hamm on keys and synth, combines free-floating jazz, rhythmic funk, and slow and sultry RnB with a cosmic twist. The trio works in harmony, each eminently gifted in their own right. The sound they create is immense.
Mirroring the sound of his album, the second half of Thundercat’s playing leaves listeners delirious, even drunk, until his beloved ‘Them Changes’ brings us back to our cosmic journey as the crowd moves together to the undeniably groovy bass line. Though his set is just over two hours long, his energy is unfaltering.
This is a bold album with both humour and darkness within its compositions. His lyrics seek to mimic the human condition and all its complexities: cue the brilliance of ‘from the minute I wake up I’m staring at the screen watching the world go by’ (Bus on the Streets). Bruner gives everything to this performance. As an artist previously credited with collaborative efforts rather than solo projects, ‘Drunk’ and this live tour are the perfect opportunity to share his eccentric and remarkable musical genius with the world.
You can find other Thekla listings here: http://www.theklabristol.co.uk/live.