Such a great night of music in a gorgeous room. Thanks to the fine folks at Cohoes Music Hall for having me and to Greg Haymes for the kind words.
Here’s the full video of my set, courtesy Chris Coccaro, who livestreamed it from the balcony to the Joni fam.
02:43 – Introduction by Owen Smith
04:30 – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bob Dylan)
08:55 – Nola
14:49 – Rise
22:28 – Sam
30:47 – The Jungle Line (Joni Mitchell)
37:38 – When
Thanks again to everyone who came out.
Bryan Thomas opened the show with a 40-minute solo set that fused the personal and the political, the local and the global, the historical and the contemporary. Bookended by a tender, intimate rendition of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and a raw, radical reworking of Joni Mitchell’s “The Jungle Line,” his set centered around a pair of uncompromising originals — “Rise” and “Sam” — that faced the issue of racial division head-on, proving that he’s the Capital Region’s best singer-songwriter. And he just keeps getting better.
FANTASTIC NEGRITO with special guest Bryan Thomas
Thursday, Oct. 13. 8 p.m.
Cohoes Music Hall, 58 Remsen St, Cohoes, NY
This should be fun.
ABOUT FANTASTIC NEGRITO
Upon winning NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Concert Contest, Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Dphrepaulezz) Quickly won over critics with 2015’s self-titled EP. Consequence of Sound wrote of the record “Dphrepaulezz sings like a man compelled by a spiritual force…[his] voice is impassioned, somewhere between a croon and a scream,” and the Washington Post praised the EP’s “raw vocals and self-assessing lyrics.” The San Francisco Chronicle noted that “almost overnight, the singer-songwriter became an international sensation.”
Dphrepaulezz hailed from an orthodox Muslim household as a child. After relocating from rural Massachusetts to Oakland as a teenager in the 1980s, he quickly moved from strict religion to the music of Funkadelic; by the age of 20 he taught himself to play just about every instrument he came across, and in the `90s, he signed a multi-million dollar deal with Interscope Records performing under his first name Xavier. Dphrepaulezz’s life changed drastically when he was involved in a near death car accident resulting in a three-week coma, followed by intensive physical rehabilitation with his guitar playing hand permanently incapacitated. After a five-year hiatus, Dphrepaulezz created Fantastic Negrito. Inspired by all American music, most especially Delta bluesmen such as R.L Burnside and Skip James, he sought to modernize his compositions by sampling and looping his own live recordings.
ABOUT BRYAN THOMAS
Bryan Thomas is a mediocre negrito.
He makes music in his basement.
Sometimes they let him out.
Thursday, Oct. 13 is one of those times.