Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Live Shows: Fantastic Negrito and Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA 8/29/18

Photo by Ken Sears
I'm a late comer to the Fantastic Negrito phenomenon. I know a lot of people have been insanely into him, but it never quite clicked for me until Please Don't Be Dead was released earlier this year. I had been toying with the idea of going to his show at The Middle East, but once Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys were added to the bill, I knew I had to check it out.

It's impossible to discuss Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys's performance without bringing this up: Earlier in the week, one of the co-owners of The Middle East retired due to sexual assault allegations. This informed the band's performance. They chose to go ahead with their performance while many other bands had cancelled theirs in order to use it as  forum to discuss the allegations. They also donated their guarantee and all merch sales to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and each band member had the organization's website written on their arms (www.barcc.org). The band still put on a fantastic, if somewhat subdued performance. They seemed to tone it down a bit out of respect for their opening position on the bill, and focused more on newer, unreleased material.
Photo by Ken Sears

What can be said about a Fantastic Negrito show? If you haven't seen him live, it's simply a must. On stage he has an insane amount of charisma and pure charm to suck anyone in, regardless of musical taste. He's a combination of Prince and James Brown playing a soul infused version of old school rock n roll. It's the kind of music that you simply don't have a soul if you can't enjoy. During his show, I stood in amazement that I was watching him at The Middle East for $13, and it wasn't a sold out show. Him only playing small 550 person clubs can't be lasting much longer, and when he does graduate to much, much larger rooms, it will be much deserved. As soon as he took the stage with his backing band for "Bad Guy Necessity," he turned every person in attendance into a lifelong fan. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a performer this captivating. 

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