Free at Noon Flashback: Fantastic Negrito speaks out and rocks out at World Cafe Live

Fantastic Negrito | photo by Senia Lopez |

For most listeners, their introduction to Fantastic Negrito was likely his Tiny Desk Contest-winning performance of “Lost In A Crowd,” delivered compellingly from behind a workbench in front of some Bay Area freight elevator.

The version of the band that appeared onstage at World Cafe Live today was much more sophisticated in terms of fidelity, but one thing that hasn’t changed is Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz’s endledd charisma. He belted out vocals with bravado over songs that ranged from raw blues to gospel rock and more, and his banter was that of a pure showman.

“I only met my daddy two times in my life,” he said at the first break in the set. “The first time, he said ‘I’m not your daddy.’ The second time, he said ‘son, whatever you do in your life, stay out of Philadelphia. Why? It’s the women. They’re scary.'” A bit scripted in an insert-city-name-here way, but it made for a lively intro the blues ripper “Scary Woman.” Later in the set, Dphrepaulezz went off-book to talk about issues surrounding the state of the nation; the number one question he gets asked on tour, he says, is “What’s going on in America?” Continue reading →


Fantastic Negrito reveals desperation and urgency in his new album PLEASE DON’T BE DEAD

Fantastic Negrito | photo by Johnny Galvan | courtesy of the artist

“He’s the story of a man who struggled to ‘make it’, who ‘got it’, and who ‘lost it’ all.” Fantastic Negrito has been through hell and back over the years. The Oakland native has used his struggles as a tool to make meaningful, inspiring music through its narrative and sound, representing that old school blues rock and his black roots. After winning the inaugural Tiny Desk Contest from NPR Music, then his 2016 album The Last Days Of Oakland, Fantastic Negrito followed up with PLEASE DON’T BE DEAD via Cooking Vinyl and Blackball Universe.

The eleven track collection reveals desperation and urgency, and Fantastic Negrito says it is “for anyone who ever felt like it was over yet hoped it wasn’t.” He wrote this album based on his fears with the uncertainty of how his children’s lives will turn out due to the chaotic society we now live in. Each song shreds light on the darkness that waiting for you at every corner. Continue reading →


#XPNFest announces more artists, incl. Natalie Prass and The National Reserve

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen // Fantastic Negrito // The National Reserve | photo by Michael Cooper // Forth Wanderers | photo by Julia Leiby // all photos courtesy of the artists

77 more days, 11 weeks left, a little over two months to go – however you want to say it, you better believe XPNFest is coming up quickly! Kicking off on Friday, July 27 across the river in Wiggins Park, NJ, the annual festival is returning for its 25th rendition. Today, we’re pleased to announce four more artists set to appear at the fest.

Joining the Wiggins Park crowd on Friday is Brooklyn’s The National Reserve, who just wrapped up a Free at Noon set earlier this afternoon. The Brooklynites show off their bluesy brand of Americana rock on their latest album, Motel La Grange, which just so happens to be out today. Give the album a spin if you missed the band’s set, or relisten to some of the tracks the band played earlier on air. Continue reading →