Dillon Francis has gone from a relative unknown in Australia to one of our favourite adopted sons in a few short years. His rise in the eyes of Aussie fans has just as much to do with his larrikin presence on social media as it does his music, and when it comes to seeing Francis perform live he assumes another personality; the consummate entertainer.
First observing the American producer perform live in 2012 at Stereosonic, there was already an energy and magnitude about him that has carried him in good stead over the years. Performing to a couple of hundred punters in the Woodchopping arena at Sydney Olympic Park, a Blonde-haired Francis dropped oodles of moombahton bangers, and professed at one point; “The main stage can suck my dick!”
Now, five years later, Francis is currently headlining one of Australia’s biggest and best concert tours in Groovin’ The Moo, and playing a slew of sold out headline shows. Observing him close the Moulin Rough tent just days prior, it was then just as exciting to see Dillon get his clubbing set out and throw down one of the most entertaining and hard-hitting sets of 2017 at Metro Theatre in Sydney on Thursday night.
While his set at Groovin Maitland last weekend was visually spectacular and filled with bangers, it felt like it needed more of his own music. He played maybe 50% his own original stuff, which people absolutely love him for. If anything, Thursday night at the Metro saw Francis play even less originals, but for a variety of reasons that didn’t seem to matter.
Despite the fact that he is a gifted producer and a talented comedian, Dillon Francis still holds a deep-seated love for performing at clubs. For someone crafting the amazing music that he is at the moment, most recently even expanding his palette to hip hop featuring G-Eazy’s vocals on Say Less – he could probably do away with club residencies. But instead he continues to perform club shows, and is still dedicated to these shows to the point that this year he flew directly between Coachella and Vegas to perform twice in the same night (something he does regularly).
Which brings us back to Sydney’s Metro Theatre; where he captivated the audiences with a diverse range of music from R&B to moombahton, from My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade to Daryl Braithwaite’s The Horses. His mixing was flawless, and he still found time to amp up the crowd, do a shoey and sing happy birthday to one of his crew.
For his long-term fans, he would occasionally drop in short samples of the tracks that introduced him to the world like Bootleg Fireworks and Masta Blasta, but for the most part he appealed to the whole crowd including those who might not be too familiar with his music. Francis stuck to his bigger mainstream hits, with moments like Anywhere, When We Were Young and Candy (a song that struck a particular chord with Gerald the pinata’s Australian cousins who came out in droves to see the show).
Not content with leaving a room of sweaty and satisfied punters, Francis then assumed his alter-ego DJ Hanzel and performed a set at the Hudson Ballroom, which according to one punter was “deeper than “the deepest circle of hell.”