Thundercat Locked Trees Into His Groove On Sunday.

Thundercat Sold Trees Out On Sunday And Had Everyone In The Room Entranced Within Seconds Of Starting His Almost Two-Hour Set.

Thundercat and Erykah Badu photo by Emily McCartney. All others by Pete Freedman.

When you’ve collaborated with as many artists as Thundercat has — Erykah Badu! Kendrick Lamar! Flying Lotus! Suicidal Tendencies! Childish Gambino! Mac Miller! Kamasi Washington! Honestly, too many artists of note to bother even listing in full! — performing under your own banner can be a bit of a strange thing.

That’s something the bass god born Stephen Bruner told us when we interviewed him in advance of his 2015 gig at Three Links, his first-ever headlining show in Dallas.

“It’s just so weird,” he said.

Of course, back then, performing solo — well, with a small backing band, one that featured two ancillary players last night at Trees — was a fairly new thing for him.

“Sometimes I do get nervous singing in front of everybody,” he explained. “It’s still really new to me. I mean, I’ve been playing bass for, like, almost 30 years. But singing while playing in front of everybody is still totally new.”

At last night’s show in Deep Ellum, though, it was clear that the past two years of performing front-and-center — as he also did at the 2015 Oaktopia Fest in Denton — have done wonders for his mettle.

For almost two hours in front of a sold-out crowd on Sunday night, Thundercat oozed a cool confidence under his sly, permanent smile. He played his bass with the kind of second-nature ease that can only come with holding that instrument for most waking hours in the past 30 years, as his wizard-like, blurred hand slides up and down his fret board awed throughout the night. And his singing voice — his unique cooed falsetto — too captivated, never once coming across as anything below pitch perfect. Combined last night, these talents made for an absurdly alluring concoction, one that grabbed this audience by the hand as soon as it started and one that never let up throughout the remainder of its run.

Following the release of his critically acclaimed Drunk LP last month — which did much of this set’s heavy lifting, although the length of his set required that portions of his entire solo catalog were also covered — Thundercat’s profile certainly appears to be rising, as the general public is finally becoming aware of the genius that so many studio aces have known about for so long. And right in line with that, Thundercat’s own abilities seem to be rising to the level of the playing field upon which he currently finds himself.

It’s tough to say how he still finds the capacity to grow, really. But that’s the thing about genius. It can’t be stopped.

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