This past Friday night, War Memorial Gymnasium was converted into a music venue for the first time, as music producer Giraffage and upcoming superstar Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals entertained a crowd of over 900 students for Donaroo, CAB’s Spring concert.
Giraffage, also known as Charlie Yin, is a local legend in the Bay Area electronic music scene. Having grown up in San Jose and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, Giraffage regularly performs at venues around the Bay. Yin transformed War Memorial into a dance club, his remixes of popular R&B songs blasting through the speakers as visuals of anime characters and skeletons flashed in the background.
Giraffage’s set never had a dull moment; the crowd was always dancing, fists pumping into the air, some people even climbing onto the shoulders of others. His remix of Drake’s song “Hotline Bling” and iPhone ringtone “Marimba” was instantly memorable. Drake’s voice danced over the tones and beeps of “Marimba” until Giraffage’s own beats merged effortlessly with the two to create a cohesive blend of Electronic and Hip-Hop. Pictures of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” music video flashed on screen, as students in the audience jumped up and down in sync with the beat. The crowd’s cheering drowned out Giraffage’s “thanks” as he left the stage to headline a show at San Francisco State University.
Not long after Giraffage finished his set, the lights of War Memorial began to dim and the cheering started. Anderson .Paak’s band, The Free Nationals, took the stage, picking up their instruments as intro music grew louder and louder. Dreamy visuals of a woman floating through clouds showed up on the screen as stage lights began to flash, highlighting the elevated drum kit on stage left. Finally, Anderson took the stage with his infectious smile as he launched into crowd-pleaser “Come Down.” The roar of the crowd was instantaneous and students began chanting the lyrics as .Paak strutted and swayed across the stage.
.Paak’s hour long set seamlessly transitioned between songs from his first album, “Venice,” and highlights from his second, Grammy-nominated album, “Malibu.” His performance of NxWorries’s (a duo made up of .Paak and producer Knxledge) “Suede” was particularly groovy, with a rhythmic bass line and steady staccato drums punctuated by .Paak’s’ exclamations of “Yes Lawd!” Another favorite of the crowd’s was “Glowed Up,” where .Paak’s smooth rapping and raspy vocals glided through the whimsical beat created by producer Kaytranada. Those songs incite feelings of joy and make you want to dance, and even if you don’t dance, you will find yourself swaying with the rhythm.
.Paak himself easily moved between dancing and jiving with the crowd and playing the drums, while rapping and singing at the entire time. His talent and charisma were obvious, as was his joy at being able to perform in front of such a receptive audience. .Paak’s supporting band, The Free Nationals, were also having a fantastic night a highlight being Jose Rios’ incredible guitar solo. Anderson .Paak and The Free National’s performance captured the attention and the hearts of the audience for one perfect night.