Seven months after Anderson.Paak, hot off the release of his second studio album “Malibu,” blew the roof off the South by Southwest 2016 with his irresistible funky hip-hop/R&B fusion, he returned to set Zilker Park on fire at a 5 p.m. Austin City Limits Festival performance on the Homeaway stage. Though he didn’t draw the same impenetrable throng as some alums of that stage, most notably Iggy Azalea and Lorde in 2014, a massive crowd gathered for a spirited sunset getdown, led by the Afro-Korean rhythm and rap master.
Kicking things off, busting Bruno Mar-style dance moves on a small platform set center stage to the hard driving funk grooves of “Come Down,” he worked the crowd like a champ. Though he dropped some of the most specific (and accurate) pandering we’ve heard all weekend, “I see a lot of white people. … I see a lot of pretty girls. Austin got the baddest white (expletive) in the world,” he was also effusive and positive. “If nobody loves you, I love you,” he said at another point near the top of the set.
Mostly though, he made one thing clear, he showed up to bring the party, gearing his set to “the ones who like to dance and sweat.”
Paak’s broad and formidable skill set as an artist is “nothing short of amazing,” and his catchy dance grooves have the feel of instant classics. He spent half the set rocking and rhyming on the front platform and the other half at a drum kit planted front of stage. He proved his rhythmic prowess in both positions. While he played some newer tracks that veered toward darker party rap, his signature sound, smooth hooks that break into lyrically deft rhyme sequences, shone bright on tracks like “The Bird” and “Am I Wrong.” The latter track did not include a cameo appearance from featured rapper Schoolboy Q, who was also playing the fest Saturday. “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” and “Luh You” provoked heartfelt, surprisingly accurate sing-alongs.
At the top of the set he encouraged the crowd to “Act like it’s our last time to party.” By the time he closed, an exhilarating, sweaty hour later, it was clear the party people were with him.