There was a feeling of funk, rhythm and soul in the air on November 16th at The Pageant in St. Louis, MO. Los Angeles-based road cat Stephen Bruner (also known by his stage name, Thundercat) rolled into town, breaking out his massive, unique signature six-string Ibanez TCB1006 to take his audience for an absolute ride. It was an intense showing of God-like strength, from the strings underneath Thundercat’s fingers to the double-kick coming from the drums to the lightning quick style emanating from the keys. There are artists out there who have a tendency to express themselves better with their art than they do with their words and Thundercat couldn’t define that statement more accurately.
Thundercat’s style of play, clothing and overall expression of music onstage is intoxicating.
His latest album, It Is What It Is, serves as another example of this. It’s an agitated swell of electronica, funk, jazz and rock, weaving together experiments with multiple bass textures and a twisted, ironical lyrical perception that drives the brain crazy. The eccentric GRAMMY-winning songwriter is still flying high after the abundant success of this latest album, which took home the prize for ‘Best Progressive R&B Album’ at the 63rd annual awards show, beating out fellow nominees Jhené Aiko, Chloe x Halle, Free Nationals and Robert Glasper.
Opening the evening was Channel Tres, a west coast rapper, singer and record producer from Compton. Hitting the scene in 2018, Channel Tres is keeping audiences grooving with his signature blend of house music, hip hop vocals and overall party vibes. Rocking a pretty similarly eccentric wardrobe and onstage presence as the headliner, Channel Tres fits the bill perfectly as the opener for this tour. Spending an equal amount of time behind the table spinning records and out front rapping for the crowd, this newcomer is sure set to make an even bigger name for himself over the course of this tour.
Up next came the man of the night, Thundercat.
The celebrated bassist came to St. Louis with the warmest of welcomes. A fully packed venue cheered and shouted as the show got underway. Getting things moving was something you almost should have seen coming. It was a firestorm of skills, showing just what this man is capable of when you put such a versatile instrument like the bass guitar in his hands. The speed of his fingers as they walk up and down the fretboard is captivating… almost as entrancing as the abundance of bling covering this man from head to toe. It was an overall exciting night, with nothing but good vibes and party mindsets. Thundercat is currently working his way across the U.S. before jumping across the pond for some European dates, so be sure to catch your tickets now while they are still available. It Is What It Is is available everywhere now!
Photography by Thomas Semonco