Free Nationals Warm The Hollywood Bowl Up For Herbie Hancock THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: Free Nationals at Hollywood Bowl 9/28/22
LOS ANGELES, CA-
“…The Free Nationals were the opening act for Herbie Hancock. They are a Los Angeles-based R&B consisting of Jose Rios (lead guitar, backing vocals), Ron “T.Nava” Avant (keyboard, rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Kelsey Gonzales (bass guitar, bass synth), and Callum Connor (drums, percussion, backing vocals). If their name sounds familiar, when they aren’t performing on their own, they serve as Anderson .Paak’s his backing band.
As I was instructed to photograph the last three songs of their performance, I wasn’t able to catch most of Free National’s performance. But from outside of the venue where I was told to wait, I could hear them perform various tracks from their self-titled debut album, including “Obituaries”, “On Sight”, “Beauty & Essex” among others. I was also able to hear them pay tribute to the late Mac Miller with a passage from their collaboration with him, “Time”.
Apparently, I missed hearing them perform Mac Demarco’s “On The Level” with Mac, but I supposed I should have anticipated an appearance by Mac has collaborated with Anderson .Paak in the past and was also supposed to tour with Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals in 2020 before Covid shut things down.
For their finale, for a bit of fun, members of Free Nationals started chatting with a somewhat distinguished gentleman with flowing golden locks and a tailored blue suit sitting in the front row. In what appeared to be a heated exchange, the gentleman in the front row got up out of the seat and jumped onto the stage. When the blue-suited man turned around, we could all see the wide smile of Anderson .Paak himself. He jumped onto the stage, and settled behind the drum kit, and banged out “Gidget” with Free Nationals leaving all in attendance hooting and hollering with joy…”
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