By Nic Damasio
“Has anyone seen my dad?!,” one rave chick yelled into the audience.
“Yo, dude, my dad is about to kill it on stage,” a generic-looking bro told his bros as they were bro-ing out.
This sounds like a couple of siblings going to see their dad play with his hometown band. If the universe had never gifted us with Dillon Francis, then you’d be correct. Luckily for all of us, that isn’t the case. Only Vine, Instagram, Twitter, and all-around star Dillon Francis can create such a unique fan following. With several alter egos, personalities, and countless inside jokes, Francis knows how to keep his fans entertained not only on social media, but also on stage.
With the release of his first studio album under Mad Decent and Columbia Records, Money Sucks, Friends Rule and his third headlining tour entitled the same, 2014 has turned out to be a huge year for Francis. On this tour he enlisted the help of Hoodboi and Trippy Turtle (A.K.A Lido) to get the crowd warmed up for his famous moombahton, electro house, and trap-filled sets. As the lights came down and the crowd cheered, Dillon took the stage to begin his wild set in the middle of an abstractly designed booth adorned with screens for his trippy and hilarious visuals usually consisting of his face in different situations.
“What’s cookin’, Boston?” was all he had to say to get us going. As the cheering subsided slightly he got straight into what was going to be a crazy set with a classic, “Masta Blasta 2.0.” Francis is known for reworking a lot of his songs, releasing them and calling them “Rebirths.” His set was filled with his own rebirths: classics like Duck Sauce’s “NRG,” and a few solid unexpected remixes. His remixes of Daft Punk’s “Harder Better Faster Stronger” and W&W’s “Bigfoot” had the HOB going off, while his remix to Deadmau5’s “Strobe” brought a few tears to my eyes. Francis threw us a bit of a curveball when towards the end of his set he dropped his exclusive remix to Galantis’ hit single “Runaway (U & I)” that gives Kaskade a run for his money.
This being the third time I have seen Dillon Francis live, I think it is safe to say I have seen a wide variety of Francis—not necessarily in the sense of his internet alter egos but in the sense of his style. When I first saw Dillon on his World Turr in 2013, his set was a bit more reckless and went a little harder. He even sent out giant cardboard cut-outs of his beautiful face into the audience, one of which hangs in my room to this day. My second time seeing Dill was at Veld Music Festival in Toronto where his style was still mostly moombahton and trap.
This time around, Dillon’s set seemed to be a bit more reserved and more focused on his new music that has begun to slip into the progressive house/house genre. The first time I noticed a change in Francis’ style was with the release of the beautifully moving “Without You,” featuring the vocals of indie electronic artist Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. Now a lot of Francis’s music has moved from original mixes to borderline pop-electronic songs focusing mostly on the vocals. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Personally, I am a fan of electronic music with lyrics you can feel; “When We Were Young,” featuring the vocals of The Chain Gang of 1974, and “Love in the Middle of a Firefight,” featuring Brendon Urie, do just this. Artists always progress and try out new genres and different styles to see how the audience responds. Francis is no exception to this, and the response from his fans have been overwhelming, considering he sold out the majority of his shows and had to add multiple dates to the same cities.
That’s not to say Francis has not stuck to his guns, either. The emotional vocal tracks also have strong moombahton and moombahcore influence. Tracks off his new album like “I Can’t Take It” and “We Make It Bounce,” featuring the iconic Major Lazer and Stylo G, stick to the style that made Francis get noticed by people like Diplo in the first place.
In the EDM world there are the artists that know what will make them successful and then those who make the music they love regardless of what’s popular. In my personal opinion, Dillon Francis has shown a mad decent balance between the two with this tour and his debut album.