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LIVE: Thundercat – Bristol Beacons, Bristol, 30/03/2024

Recent years have seen Thundercat‘s (real name Stephen Bruner) prominence rise beyond anything the LA-based artist could have ever imagined. From winning a GRAMMY, to appearing in Star Wars, it’s been a dream-filled ride. It should come as no surprise that when this European and UK tour was announced, tickets became scarce quickly, and many of the shows sold out soon after.

Saturday night saw Bristol Beacons’ wonderful venue fill to capacity at breakneck speed, and as the crowd settled down for two hours of sensationally smooth music, the lights dimmed, revealing the monumental-sized cat on the backdrop, and it’s hauntingly cool glowing eyes.

It’s time for some Evangelion type shit“, exclaimed Bruner as he and his band took to the stage, bursting into life with ‘Lost In Space / Great Scott / 22-26‘ from his 2020 album It Is What It Is, the first of many, many anime references made throughout the night, which is famously a passion of Bruner.

The night progressed seamlessly, with the inclusion of many popular songs, such as ‘Interstellar Love‘, ‘Tron Song‘, and Bruner’s very own take on Ryuichi Sakamoto‘s ‘Thousand Knives.’ Amongst the setlist was also some new, unreleased material. Bruner himself acknowledged that his upcoming album is perhaps a few years overdue, but that he promises it’s coming soon, two of the new songs include the rhythmic ‘Dance With Me‘, as well as the soft, soothing ‘Candlelight.’

Bruner also didn’t shy away from proclaiming his appreciation for a number of his inspirations throughout the evening too. One such inspiration being Brazilian guitarist, vocalist, and composer Pedro Martins, who has previously collaborated with Bruner, who then proceeded to cover Martins’ own song ‘Isn’t It Strange.’

The second shout out of the night went to the recently-passed Akira Toriyama, the mastermind behind the beloved manga and anime series Dragon Ball Z, with Bruner dedicating the emotional ‘A Message To Austin‘ to him. A spontaneous conversation between Bruner and various audience members ensued after the song had finished too, sharing their anime series with one another.

As the show went on, the pace was picked up gradually, with the fast and riveting ‘Tokyo‘, and fan-favourite ‘Dragonball Durag‘ helping to get the crowd moving, and a final run-in consisting of ‘Funny Thing‘, ‘Them Changes‘, and ‘No More Lies‘ helped to fill the venue with a rousing, party atmosphere, one that had the entire crowd dancing right until the very light note.

If you’ve never had the privilege to see Bruner’s live show before then it’s something that any live-music fan should add to their bucket list. Brimming with humour, undeniable talent, and one of the most enjoyable crowd atmospheres I’ve experienced in some time, even after the jam-packed 21 song setlist, it was hard departing the venue without simply craving more.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.