The showcase was to debut material from "Independence Day," Frankie Negron’s first English-language album, and if that wasn't incentive enough to make the Monday night trek to Joe’s Pub, word had it that he was going to perform "Holding On to Love,” a bi-lingual ditty recently performed on ABC's "One Life To Live." The anticipation rises!
But Monday night, siting in Joe’s cozy, casual elegance, and through the occasional vibrations from the 6 train running below, if you were oblivious to the marquee you would've sworn you had stumbled upon the set of a contemporary rocker and not a certified Salsa superstar.
“I am rocking out on this one,” said Negron, launching into tunes far more at home on an episode of Gossip Girl than a Telemundo telenovela.
“This night means a whole lot. I don’t know if I can sum it up in a word, but if I had to, it’s like a rebirth,” he said.
“There are going to be a few that are hardcore Salseros that are going to look at this like ‘what is he doing?’ but to them I say this isn’t something that I planned to do where I am alienating or leaving what I’ve already done; this is an extension of who I am.”
The night was about metamorphosis, the revelation of another dimension of Negron’s artistic identity. An identity tempered with Salsa sensibilities but forged in the shadows of Rock’s Jersey giants such as Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
"Independence Day" will be released September 22 in partnership with power pop-producer Jimmy Greco, and pushed through Greco’s indie label, Airgo Music.
It is the culmination of over two years of work and after five songs, the only hint of Negron’s Latin music background was the peppering of his speech with a few words of “spanglish” and an allusion to being Jersey-Rican. Overall, Negron delivered a solid, sound-shifting set before Joe’s intimate audience, including two Spanish numbers, and, based on the performance, Negron shouldn’t have much of a problem finding eager ears for his genre-bending genesis.
After all, if Lil Wayne can do it, why can’t Frankie?
Negron will be performing on Sunday Aug. 16 at Jones Beach.