Names to Know: Francis and the Lights

Francis and the Lights sounds like: Vocally, a cross between Peter Gabriel and Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill.

Where to catch in L.A.: Sept. 17 at the Greek Theatre opening for Chance the Rapper

I’ve been waiting for the multi-talented Francis and the Lights to break out for awhile. Ever since nabbing the 2010 eight-song album It’ll Be Better (definitely worth checking out in its entirety). Videos of his performances are scarce on the internet. But in each one you’ll see him dancing maniacally.

I never got the chance to see him and last year he was set to play a show in 2014 at the Troubadour. Unfortunately it was cancelled. I was stoked beyond belief when he popped up with a brief three-song set during the Friends Keep Secrets label showcase at the El Rey in February (which I covered for Grimy Goods).

That dancing I spoke of earlier came back full circle when the band dropped a video for “Friends,” a new song. The video starts with a mean-mugging Kanye West staring off into the distance. Then Francis coming into the frame with some epic dance moves. Later, Bon Iver joins him for some dancing while also lending his signature auto-tune vocals to the track. With help from friends like Chance the Rapper and Kanye linking to the video and song on social media. The track has accumulated almost 5 million plays on Spotify and 1.5 million on YouTube.

Francis and the Lights were one of the acts at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Festival this past weekend, and a live performance of “Friends” has made its way to the internet, complete with Vernon lending his vocals and Chance the Rapper lending his dance moves. Just like how Justin Vernon debuted the new Bon Iver album at this festival, Francis and the Lights debuted their new album Farewell Starlite as well in the closing set of the festival. Be sure to catch him on tour with Chance the Rapper.


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