Dillon Francis is celebrating the final weekend of the U.S. leg of his “Friends Rule” tour in a big way—headlining three nights at New York’s Terminal 5 with a delightfully deep roster of surprise guests. Friday night’s sold-out show featured drop-by’s from Major Lazer, Flosstradamus, Kam of The Chain Gang of 1974, Lily Elise, Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco, and Twista.
Francis has several alter-egos he’s developed through social media, the most popular of which is DJ Hanzel, a Ray Ban-wearing, German, deep-house DJ who always wants to go ”one deeper.” True to form, Hanzel opened last night’s show with a 30-minute, thumping set to a small group of ravers, kicking off the evening by asking the crowd, “Who’s ready to go one f—-ing deeper?”
Francis’s debut album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule, was noteworthy for not only being good, but for its ability to move between genres swiftly and smoothly. That commitment to variety was as evident in Francis’s set as in his billed support: Anamanaguchi, who make you feel you’ve stepped inside a Tetris machine with their unique electronica, and trap-heavy Bro Safari; each played for an hour. When the time came for Francis and his enormous, glowing DJ-stage (which he refers to as ”Gary”), the crowd was frenzied–and sweaty. Major Lazer, who came on early in Francis’s set, told the crowd to take off their pants and even Francis complied, DJ’ing in his boxers until telling everyone he had to get dressed again because his parents were there.
Money Sucks, Friends Rule isn’t a traditional dance album in that its tracks boast traditional song structures, meaning choruses and verses rather than an indeterminate, incessant beat pattern. While EDM traditionalists accused him of selling out, seeing him play live proves how right Francis was. The crowd sings along the way they might to their favorite pop star (especially during “Love in the Middle of a Firefight”) and dances like they’re at their favorite club. You have to appreciate a guy who comes on stage wearing a “Dillon F—in Francis” t-shirt, takes off his pants in front of 3,000 people, and laughs into the microphone as much as he yells, reminding everyone what dance music is supposed to be: Fun.