There are few artists more emblematic of the Oakland music scene than Fantastic Negrito.
Rocketed to fame after winning NPR’s inaugural Tiny Desk Contest a few years ago, he’s finally experiencing well-won success after a lifetime in the industry. Starting by sneaking into UC Berkeley’s practice rooms to teach himself piano, he’s now a Grammy-holding, internationally-known, Bernie Sanders-backed recording artist. And he’s not leaving Oakland. Ever.
Never one to appease label-dictated standards of musical decorum, his work covers some of the most pressing social issues Oakland lives under today: namely, the cultural flattening of neighborhoods and the attendant housing insecurity it creates for long-time residents. His last record, The Last Days of Oakland, details down to the last note the experience of watching your city, the city you’ve called home since the age of 12, morph into a homogeneous, sanitized, $6-latte playground for the tech elite.
To fight back even just a little bit, The UC Theatre is hosting the a night of his Push Back tour, a homecoming show after being on the road with Sturgill Simpson for the last month. “Push Back” isn’t just the name of his latest single, the video for which is below, it’s a call to action: in this context, “Push Back” means to, well, push back against whatever’s holding you down: rent hikes, flagrant discrimination, widespread injustice.
In keeping with Negrito’s all-Oakland all-the-time vibe, the lineup for this show is 100% Oakland based: MAD NOISE roll Oakland’s natural diversity into a funk-blues-acoustic mashup, and the Jamming Nachos are a rising, Afropunk-approved rock and roll band. So come and and support your local scene. It’s not the biggest push back, but it’s at least a nudge.
Fantastic Negrito, MAD NOISE, the Jamming Nachos
The UC Theatre
October 14, 2017