Sweat, Bass, and Lots of Musical Amigos: Dillon Francis Comes to NYC
A couple weekends ago on Friday, January 16th, Dillon Francis kicked off his 3-night New York City installment of his Money Sucks, Friends Rule Tour. I had the opportunity of attending the first night of the series, a sold-out show at Terminal 5 in Midtown NYC. While some dismiss rave culture as a fad, consisting of mindless, neon tube-top wearing teenagers mindlessly twerking their premature buttcheeks off to what sounds like “two robots having sex in a washing machine,” some of us actually like vibin’ to what these electronic music producers have to offer. Personally, Dillon is one of my favorite DJs and I’d been looking forward to this night ever since his debut album, Money Sucks Friends Rule, was released last year. If you aren’t familiar with Dillon, he started began his career as a young soul producing sick moombahton beats among the likes of Diplo and the rest of the Mad Decent crew. He’s come a long way since then (though still kicking back with Diplo on the reg, according to his Instagram and Snapchat), having made appearances at some major festivals including Coachella, Governor’s Ball, and Bonnaroo over the last few years. He signed onto Columbia Records in May of 2014, and though some blatantly boo him as a “sellout” for doing so, his first album did not disappoint. An amalgamation of moombahton, hip-hop, heavy bass, and even a sprinkle of deep house, Money Sucks, Friends Rule shows no sign of Dillon succumbing to the capitalist endeavors of a major record label.
Interestingly enough, Dillon kicked off the night. Not as Dillon, however, but as his euro, deep-house bumping alter ego, DJ Hanzel. Yes, dressed in a slick suit and donning Ray-Bans long after the sun had set, DJ Hanzel took us all “One Deeper.” Terminal 5 had not yet filled up at this point, making for a much more chill, club vibe during Hanzel’s set. Midway through, he even paused to say with his German/Dutch accent, “Oh, I forgot to start my light show for you,” while lighting a scented candle on stage. Next up was Anamanaguchi, a band that seemed as though it originated inside of a Japanese, candy-coated garage. They did a gorgeous rendition of Porter Robinson’s “Sad Machine” and also brought out their adorable singer-friend up on stage to perform their latest single, “Pop It.” It was awesome to see a young, upcoming, and instrumental band playing at one of these shows. The last opening act was Bro Safari, who offered some sick trap and hip-hop beats including a remix of Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type.” He brought Flosstradamus out too, during which the duo’s classic hit “Mosh Pit” came on.
Around 10:30, a curtain revealing the beaaaautiful stage dropped to the ground revealing the man of the hour, Dillon Francis. A low bass was bumping in the background, when all of a sudden, the entire crowd recognized it as the introduction to his track “Not Butter.” As this festival hit continued to play, the crowd got rowdy, singing along to lyrics like “you can dip your lobster in it!!” Meanwhile, the screen behind him projected absurd images like dancing muffins and oversized Dillon heads dancing atop mini cartoon bodies. Soon enough, the as-promised special guests started flooding out. Major Lazer joined in first with “Make it Bounce,” a collaborative track from Dillon’s album. Then they really got the crowd dancing with classic Major Lazer jams including “Pon De Floor” and “Jah No Partial.” Then, not surprisingly, Diplo yelled “How many of you ladies would get naked for Dillon Francis right now?” directly into the mic. As the crowd responded by screeching at the top of their lungs, Dillon dropped his pants. Yes…he really took off his pants. This was just the start, though, as the now pant-less DJ had much more in store for his first sold-out show in New York, New York.
As the night progressed, basically every vocalist on Money Sucks, Friends Rule made an on-stage cameo. Chain Gang of 1974 came out to sing the lighthearted tune, “When We Were Young.” Next up was Lily Elise who belted out the passionate track, “Hurricane.” While I wasn’t initially a fan of this song, hearing it live definitely changed my opinion for the better. It still couldn’t compare, however, to my excitement when Twista came out to rap along to his collab with Dillon, “All That.” As soon as he hit the stage and we heard that biting first word, “attention…” my friend Jenny and I immediately turned to one another and finished the line “…ladies and gentlemen, I have all the holes on my pelvis, because I look like black Elvis, HIT ITTTT.” This song is a straight jam, and if you haven’t heard it yet, you should really get on that.
The special guests were fun and all, but the real excitement was for Dillon himself, of course. He played classic tunes like “Without You,” “Masta Blasta,” and “I.D.G.A.F.O.S.” I swear, I was partying inside of a Nintendo 64 at one point…more specifically, I was riding down rainbow road in my tiny, adorable toad cart. As for some newer tracks, he dropped his dope remix of Galantis’ “Runaway” and, of course, “Get Low” feat. DJ Snake. Actually, he dropped Lil Jon’s “Get Low,” immediately after his own, which resulted in uncharted levels of ratchetivity as everyone belted “to the window, to the wall,” etc. in true middle-school dance fashion. The night finished, however, on a much more beautiful note. Dillon dropped a pretty, light remix of my favorite track off his album, “Drunk All the Time.” It’s impossible not to sing along to Simon Lord’s voice beaming, “being with you, I feel drunk all the time.” Finally, Panic! At the Disco’s lead singer Brandon Urie came out on stage. “This is my favorite song on the album, and this is one of my favorite people in the world,” Dillon said as Urie entered for a heart-wrenching performance of their track, “Love in the Middle of a Firefight.” It was incredible. Urie’s vocals were crisp and absolute studio-quality. Unfortunately though, this track marked the end of what was an unbelievable night. Well, Dillon, I’ll never forget you. I’ll also never forget the 15 buckets of sweat that my body released that night. Everyone else, go listen to Dillon’s album, righhht….nowwwww…!!!
Steve Garfinkel Photography