Words and Photos by Marco Denzer

To say Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz (Fantastic Negrito) played an outstanding show at SOB’s, the legendary Manhattan club where artists like Kendrick Lamar, George Clinton & P Funk, Snoop Dogg, and David Byrne have graced the stage, is being dismissive and perhaps a bit out of touch in terms of what it means to be in the presence of greatness. The incredible outpouring of love, passion, musicianship, and unbridled energy he delivered, can only define his performance as pure genius and extremely entertaining.

The first song of the night was “Bad Guy Necessity”, and immediately after singing it Fantastic Negrito leaned into the microphone and jokingly said “now we’re a quartet” referring to his band arrangement without a string bass. That said, he and guitarist Tomas Salcedo (The Chilean Sensation), drummer Darian P. Gray, and keyboardist Bryan C. Simmons (The Professor) proceeded to set the place ablaze with an amazing blend of blues, soul, funk and rock that had everyone in the club rocking and swaying to the music. The night’s repertoire consisted of an extensive and dynamic list of titles selected from his 2018 release Please Don’t Be Dead, and his 2017 Best Modern Blues Grammy Award winning album, The Last Days of Oakland. Highlights included songs like “The Duffler”, “A Cold November Street”, “Working Poor”, and “Scary Woman”, to name a few.

Their performance was typical of bands that earn their respect and accolades on the road…one gig at a time. Their show was heartfelt, honest to the core, gripping, and exuberant. It was plain to see from the interaction among band members that they were having tons of fun and feeling the love from the crowd. The vibe in the venue was and overwhelming and contagious sense joy and good energy.

Fantastic Negrito has masterfully distilled multiple generations of music into a smooth inebriating elixir that releases endorphins and cures ones ills for a while. It is equal parts spiritual, Delta blues, soul, folk, rock & roll, and urban hip-hop in perfect combination. He seamlessly blends the strong deep-rooted influence of this vast musical heritage and delivers it to the audience straight to the heart; he’s a modern day healer of mind and soul.

The band will continue touring through the month of September, so don’t miss seeing them live at a city near you.

Bad Guy
Working Poor
Scary Woman
Cold November Street
Hump Through The Winter
Honest Man
Lost In A Crowd
Rant Rushmore
A Boy Named Andrew
In The Pines
Bullshit Anthem
Plastic Hamburgers
The Duffler

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