Surfer Blood, Francis & the Lights and Dominique Young Unique played Studio at Webster Hall
Wearing skin-tight black pleather pants, a neon pink bustier and over-sized shades, Dominique Young Unique took the smoke filled stage at the Studio at Webster Hall last night (10/19) and proceeded to have a blast as she worked thru a set of grimey hip-hop. She simultaneously brought to mind Santigold, Spank Rock and Nicki Minaj. Her big gap-toothed smile (like mine!), sincere appreciation (“thank youuuuuuuuuuu”), tight rhymes and inspired flow made for an energetic and incredibly fun set. She was backed by a drum machinist and a synth/percussionist, who made the set much more dynamic than the standard DJ playing a backing track. She has the charisma of a star and I can bet she’ll be a festival staple next summer and will be opening for major tours in between.
Francis & The Lights‘ front man, Francis Farewell Starlight, combined 80’s soft-pop/soul vocals with killer dance breakdowns to bring the energy in the room up another level. He was flanked by a guitarist and keyboardist who, despite being well-skilled, purposely stayed emotionless (and almost motionless) so that the focus could stay on Francis. The songs were much better live than on the record and they brought to mind Phil Collins and Steve Winwood (think “Higher Love”). Overall, a very entertaining set that has me wanting to bring friends to Mercury Lounge on Friday to see them again. They’ve been touring with Mark Ronson and have upcoming dates opening for everyone from Drake to Ke$ha to La Roux, so expect to be hearing a lot from them in the coming year.
Surfer Blood closed the show a night before they the big room at Webster Hall. It was my first time seeing them and I wasn’t all that impressed. The songs were good and they’re great musicians, but it was pretty straightforward rock and seemed a little uninspiring after the two previous sets. Also, with MTV filming a live webcast of the set, it seemed they were playing a little more for the cameras than they were for the kids that came out to see them live. Eh.