The Incomparable Excellence of Thundercat



Thundercat will blow your mind a minimum of five times per live performance. There will be at least five instances where you’ll stand there, slack-jawed, completely in awe.

This Wednesday, Thundercat brought his unearthly jazz bass playing to the Granada Theater. A crowd of fans received him like the superstar he is, and Thundercat visibly enjoyed the crowd right back.

Seeing a Thundercat show is unlike anything else in music. The only other example in mind is possibly Flying Lotus, his good friend and fellow artist on their collaborative label, BrainFeeder. These shows are comparable in their free-flowing and intensely weird nature.

Weirdness is what makes Thundercat great. It’s weird that this red-hair dreads wearing, six-string bass playing, virtuoso goes onstage and performs music from another world to us mere mortals. Onstage, Thundercat’s fingers fly so quickly around his bass that it’s truly unbelievable. It is unable to be believed, unless you see it, and then, still, it’s hard to grasp.

It’s a kind of performance that makes your jaw drop and you question “HOW?”

The nearly two-hour long performance felt like one free-wheeling jam session between Thundercat aka Stephen Bruner and his bandmates, playing keyboards, drums, and electric jazz violin. The four artists exchanged solos and grooves throughout the show, giving Bruner plenty of space to fill with his lightening fast bass solos.

Not even the finest air-bassists in the audience could keep up with the speed of Thundercat’s fingers. His ability to take a song into uncharted territory at any moment is truly awe-inspiring. Songs will go on as long as they have to for the band to take the song from something familiar to something astrological.

The experience of seeing Thundercat is so similar to what I would imagine going to space is. Exploring the abyss and trusting that no matter how weird things get, you’ll make it through. You’ll learn things about yourself, you’ll be in disbelief, and you’ll return not fully able to wrap your head around what just occurred, but you know it was awesome.

There was not a single person in that audience that said the show was just average. It was definitely something entirely unique and rare to see. Thundercat proved this week that space travel is attainable here on earth.


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