Dillon Francis is close to wrapping up his Money Sucks, Friends Rule tour, and anyone who has had the opportunity to go see him knows that he has held nothing back. After releasing his first full-length album and seeing it peak at #2 on the Billboard Dance/Electronic charts, he unveiled a brand new stage production before setting out on a 26-show tour that spanned from coast to coast. Alongside special guests TJR, Trippy Turtle, and Hoodboi, Dillon gave life to his latest album by incorporating its songs with some of his biggest hits and solidified a devout following of people who now come out in the thousands, wearing outfits with his face all over them. His back-to-back nights at the Shrine in Los Angeles were no exception.
We arrived at the Expo Hall early to find it half-full of people, all eagerly awaiting the festivities ahead. On the second night in Los Angeles, the lineup was Hoodboi up front, TJR in the middle, and Dillon on the appropriate headline slot. Before Hoodboi even started, good vibes were widespread. As people began to arrive, I watched friends meet up with their group in absolute excitement, running across the floor to embrace the people they would dance with for the next four hours. You could feel the energy in the room as people grooved to the low-level ambient music, waiting for the opener to take the stage and seemingly give us all permission to let loose under the towering lights. Every time the playlist would pause as one track stopped and another began, the crowd would erupt and cheer during the silence, hoping that the time had finally come for them to escape into the music.
When Hoodboi took the stage, it felt like the room had actually come alive. His Jersey Club sound went well in the opening slot and provided a groovy, bounce vibe as more and more people began to fill the venue. Los Angeles is relatively unaware of the Jersey sound, it seems. Many people I spoke to in passing were unfamiliar with Hoodboi, but most were receptive and I think the style has a promising future on the west coast. If you are one of these people, head over to his Soundcloud and get yourself acquainted fast!
By the time that TJR took the stage the Shrine was amply full, the crowd was warmed up, and things began to take off at a rapid pace. He opened his set with “Feel The Volume” by Jauz, a Los Angeles-based producer that rose to popularity after his song got released on Mad Decent and is now officially Diplo approved. TJR came out swinging by dropping some aggressive electro-house tracks in quick succession, including a mashup of Tove Lo’s “Habits” and his very own “What’s Up Suckaz.” He’s proved time and time again that his bounce sound can keep a dance floor jumping from start to finish. Despite having only a fraction of the plays on YouTube as some of his bigger hits, “Ass Hypnotized” actually got a really positive response from the crowd. His two month old release has racked up about half a million plays, compared to 13.9 million and 4.6 million for “Ode To Oi” and “What’s Up Suckaz” respectively. This isn’t exactly an accurate representation of success, but it does show a certain degree of relative consumption. None of this was important on that night, though, because people were jumping with no less intensity than everything else on his playlist.
As soon as TJR left the stage, an enormous tension captured the entire hall. Every single person became instantly aware that the person they came out to see was about to take his place. There had been a large black curtain obviously hung behind the L.E.D. façade where the previous DJs had played, and the fact that we all knew what lied behind it made the moment that much more suspenseful. In a few short seconds, the curtain fell and the man himself jumped up onto his impressive new light structure.
Dillon opened with a bold statement about his signature sound: he is and always will be a moombahton man. The slower tempo and heavy beats were incredibly satisfying, and the vibe segued well from TJR’s explosive set. A few songs in, I realized superfluously that Dillon’s music is best enjoyed loud. I’ve had his album on repeat for a few weeks but the towering line array speakers and stacks of subwoofers are like the missing ingredient in a delicious blend of electro-house flavor. I was very excited to see that he wasn’t sticking to his new stuff, though. At about 12:30 AM he dropped an edit of “Masta Blasta,” and every old fan in the room lit up with glee. This was one of the first songs I enjoyed by him, and that night I was not alone in my approval.
Another notable moment was when he played “I Can’t Take It” from Money Sucks, Friends Rule. It was one of those moments that you can only feel at a show – the kind that creates flashbacks every time you hear that particular song from there on out. I think it has something to do with the unique mood that each artist helps develop throughout the night, coupled with a realization that everyone around you is just as stoked to hear it as you are. As the crowd sang along with the hook, the air was electric. When the moombahton-style drop finally came, you could see the entire crowd jumping in unison from the balcony as CO2 cannons exploded with their distinct, high pitched howl. He kept up this relentless energy all the way until his close, leaving everyone begging for more.
All in all, the show was a resounding success in every way that it could be. As the tour winds down, fans have been left with incredible experiences around the country that have only further cemented Dillon’s place as a cultural icon in the dance music world. For proof, look no further than the homemade shirts with his face on them, the rampant use of the yellow-green-purple color scheme, and the blown up cardboard Dillon-heads that hover over the crowds. Also, the list of supporting acts that were chosen supplemented his music perfectly, and his New York shows are in for even more of a treat; expect appearances by Bro Safari, Anamanaguchi, and the legendary DJ Hanzel himself. If you’re going to be on the east coast between January 16th and 18th, be sure to grab tickets to one of the three nights at Terminal 5 because this is the last time you get to be a part of this momentous occasion. Also, don’t forget to grab your copy of “Money Sucks, Friends Rule” here!
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