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It should be within every budding musician's interests to play like Thundercat. The bass wizard Stephen Bruner could very well start a school, if he had any desire to. The six-string bassist got his start working with Flying Lotus, Erykah Badu, and Suicidal Tendencies, before releasing his first LP in 2011. Touring behind his second album, Apocalypse, released in 2013, Thundercat wowed unsuspecting viewers with otherworldly improvisation and R&B-blended Ra-isms to those inside the North Park church.

Songs on Bruner's latest album live different lives in person. Discernible melodies aren't the focal point. Instead, lyrical snippets in tracks like “Tron Song” are peripheral, essentially borders surrounded by several minutes of jazz-infused improvisations. From the opening George Duke cover of “For Love I Come,” Bruner was a very personable performer. Living vicariously off the audience, he retold an experience in the woods with Flying Lotus and pianist Austin Peralta that inspired “Lotus and the Jondy.” Preceded by a dedication to the recently passed Peralta — the most moving part of the show — it was clear he had the crowd in his hand. When he emerged for his encore, “Oh, Sheit, It’s X,” the audience was hanging on every note from the half-pained, half-euphoric expressions of the virtuoso.

  • Concert: Thundercat
  • Seats: GA
  • Date: May 11
  • Venue: The Irenic
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