One of the best Southern California music events that happens every year is Anderson .Paak’s .PAAK House, a benefit concert that feels more like a family reunion than a ticketed event. Paak’s localized concert is put on every winter and provides gifts, clothing, meals and resources to underprivileged families going into the holidays. A limited number of paid tickets are also sold to in-the-know locals, and this year’s event was available for purchase via livestream as well.
.PAAK House is put on by the same familiar people every year and maintains the feeling of a small gathering. Hosted year after year by the hilarious Teddy Ray and .Paak himself, the pair make the audience feel right at home. Many of the same families return year after year, donning .PAAK House merch from previous years. The unflappable Executive Director of The Brandon Anderson Foundation, Mir Harris, has worked with Anderson .Paak on the event since its conception in 2018.
There is always speculative buzz around .Paak House because the venue location is privately announced to attendees days before and the A-list lineup (besides .PAAK) is a surprise. This year’s event was hosted in Oxnard, California- where Anderson Paak grew up. Previous years were hosted at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, however the 2021 venue was relocated to the Oxnard College field to accommodate an audience of over eight thousand concert-goers. This change made sense and seemed only fair to his coastal fans considering .Paak has albums named after major ocean cities like Oxnard, Ventura, and Malibu.
The secret lineup this year appeared to have a few last minute changes due to the recent surge in COVID-19. Nevertheless, Rae Khalil, Joyce Wrice, D Smoke, Thundercat, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals all took the stage to a masked audience. Joyce Wrice came out in a spectacular full-denim ensemble and D Smoke donned a floor-length winter coat while his wife played violin behind him. Thundercat and Anderson .Paak, who are longtime friends, shared laughs and hugs onstage while playing their respective 6 string bass and drums. The breakout star of the show was Rae Khalil, who converted us all into fans by the end of her jazzy, RnB infused slow-rap set sung in her lower register.
In a show of appreciation, the mayor of Oxnard came out in between sets to gift .Paak with a plaque, accidentally calling him “Andrew”. Teddy Ray began a lighthearted “Andrew” chant that started up again spontaneously throughout the night. More flare was added by the local Oxnard school bands and dance teams, and the classic .PAAK House dance-battles ensued. The warm feelings in the air were unaffected by the drizzling rain, to which Teddy remarked, “this is why they hired me. I got eczema- the rain comes out and I dry it all up.”
At about 9 PM Anderson .Paak began his full-length set in his usual get-up of a plaid button-down ensemble and a beanie. Generous with the spotlight, .Paak invited his son onstage to dance to “Glowed-Up” while his family stood in the center aisle and cheered them on. Anderson performed a slew of his own classics before taking a seat behind his customized drumset. Then .Paak made a seemingly impromptu decision and invited members of The Free Nationals to take the center stage and turned a spotlight on the talented band. Each member came up and did their own personal renditions while Anderson kept rhythm behind them and supported them through chants from the crowd for “One More Song”. And of course, the night was ended with Anderson signing autographs throughout the crowd and taking photos with dancers.
You can follow the event on Instagram @paakhouse and see the extravaganza from previous years in the account’s highlights.