By: Eric Budianto Thornton (IG: @ericbthornton) | Edited by: Bernadette
Over the course of a thrilling weekend starting Friday night, superstar DJ and Producer Dillon Francis, known for his comedic flair, chart topping hits and unparalleled mixing prowess, took Los Angeles by storm with three consecutive shows across diverse venues.
Day 1 – Thursday – DJ Hanzel – The Roxy
Thursday night marked the start of the three-day musical extravaganza curated by the multifaceted artist Dillon Francis. Center stage at The Roxy Theater, was the enigmatic DJ Hanzel, Dillon Francis’s enigmatic alter ego. What sets DJ Hanzel apart? While Dillon embraces DJ Hanzel’s music, this alter ego delivers a unique twist to his persona, fervently disdaining everything Dillon Francis stands for. Unlike Dillon’s diverse mix, DJ Hanzel plunges into the realms of “deeper” tracks – a fusion of dark, industrial-esque Deep House intertwined with German Techno elements.
I had the rare chance to witness his performance back in February at Exchange LA to see in person his usual stance of disdain towards Dillon Francis, often seen conducting interviews on “One Deeper Talks” and showcasing sets on YouTube before his hits with Dillon Francis.
Entering the intimate quarters of The Roxy Theater, the atmosphere was electric. Drezo‘s opening act set the stage for what was to come. When the curtains lifted, signaling the start of Dillon Francis’ three-night showcase, DJ Hanzel took center stage, setting the tone for the forthcoming three performances.
Throughout the near two-hour performance, the accompanying lights bathed the audience in an immersive atmosphere, reminiscent of the vibrant energy found in Berlin’s underground club scene, like that of Berghain.
Amidst the set, DJ Hanzel playfully took jabs at Dillon Francis, per his usual live sets. First, he stopped his set because the crowd was having “too much fun.” He playfully singled out a random fan, who, to everyone’s amusement, was handcuffed by security and escorted backstage. Later, another fan, this time a young woman, became the centerpiece as she was blindfolded and placed before the DJ booth, prompting him to say “…enjoy it with your ears. Congratulations!” as the spotlight was given to her.
At midnight, the show concluded abruptly with DJ Hanzel coyly referencing the American concept of a “curfew,” bidding a half-hearted farewell as the curtains fell.
The Roxy‘s Thursday spectacle was undeniably one of the most memorable evenings, setting the stage for two more remarkable shows in the Dillon Francis weekend lineup.
Day 2 – Friday – Moombahton Set – The Mayan
In the ever-evolving landscape of electronic dance music, some of the best moments of night two stand out as a paradigm-shifting from the first night themed around DJ Hanzel’s taste in EDM to what would be a collab on the mic themed around the EDM sub-genre: Moombahton. The dynamic dj-duo Goodtimes Ahead (formerly known as GTA) joined Dillon Francis on stage all night adding a layer of excitement to the already charged atmosphere. Performing live from beginning to end with Dillon, their collaboration promised a unique and unforgettable experience for the audience as DJ Julio Mejia took to the mic to introduce the talented music artist, DJ Dillon Francis, setting the stage for a groundbreaking set in Los Angeles for all attendees that night.
As the beats reverberated through the venue, the energy reached a fever pitch, marking the beginning of an extraordinary musical journey for the night all centered around Latin-infused EDM music to which differed in its sub-genre from the night before. Though Moombahton was the themed genre of the night, the dj skills provided by Francis, hyper-blended a variety of music genres transfused into the beats including songs like “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” by DMX, “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliott, “Get It On Tonite” by Montell Jordan and “Wannabe” by Spice Girls.
The opening track, “LA is on ACID,” set the tone for a night of electrifying beats and musical exploration. The crowd was immediately captivated by the seamless mix, signaling that an especially fun night was destined to unfold.
“Let’s Get F*ckin’ Ghetto,” set the stage ablaze as the second song dropped during the set. The track echoed through the venue as it became clear that Dillon Francis was on a mission to deliver an unforgettable performance with his friends, Goodtimes Ahead, taking part on stage. The infectious beats and high-energy vibes created an electric atmosphere, turning the venue into a pulsating dance floor.
The birth of Moombahton was also acknowledged at around the 10-minute mark of the set where Dillon Francis orchestrated a pivotal homage to which DJ Matt Toth, one half of Goodtimes, took to the mic and addressed the crowd proclaiming, “…Los Angeles, this is the original Moombahton track right here…” With these words, he introduced the groundbreaking track that officially birthed the genre now known as Moombahton. This defining moment not only showcased the innovation and creativity of the artists but also marked the birth of a genre that’s still young at heart being around for only about a decade that continues to go on to influence the electronic music landscape.
The night continued to unfold with its audience’s eyes fully glued to the stage and their feet rocking as a tapestry of musical innovation, with Dillon Francis and Goodtimes Ahead left an indelible mark on an unforgettable night at The Mayan. From the electrifying beats of “LA is on ACID” to nonstop Moombahton grooves that filled every attendees body, mind and spirit, the performance was a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and passion within the music-loving community. As the crowd dispersed, the echoes of that night lingered, forever etched in the memories of those fortunate enough to witness this momentous occasion. If you’re new to Moombahton, give the entire set a listen HERE and see if it hooks you.
Day 3 – Saturday – Dillon Francis & Friends – The Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall
The climax of the Dillon Francis weekend affair unfolded on Saturday on an extreme high note both musically and attendance-wise held at the always sun The Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall. The night kicked off with Bynx who was followed by Joey Valence & Brae before DJ Hanzel took the decks again. Per his persona, he abruptly ended his set while playfully jibing towards the evening’s headliner.
Having seen Dillon Francis perform numerous times in various settings, this particular night stood out as a highlight. The atmosphere was electrifying as Dillon took the stage, captivating the massive audience with a dazzling array of visuals, lightning, pyrotechnics, and lasers – a hallmark of his larger-than-life productions.
The Shrine Auditorium, known for hosting top-tier DJs, provided the perfect canvas for Dillon’s vibrant and ever-surprising sets. Mixing diverse genres seamlessly, Dillon kept fans on their toes, never knowing what he’s going to play next.
But the night didn’t culminate with Dillon’s set alone. In line with the official headliner being “Dillon Francis & Friends,” the final half-hour saw 11 of his peers, including Valentino Khan, Good Times Ahead, Netsky, and a plethora of additional superstar DJs, taking turns at the decks to culminate an epic conclusion to an unforgettable night and 3-day weekend.
As the night came to a close, one attendee hailed it as “a masterclass in DJing before your eyes,” solidifying the weekend as an exceptional EDM spectacle in Los Angeles. This commendation underscored the remarkable skills and stage command of Dillon Francis and his friends (and also his arch nemesis, DJ Hanzel), delivering an extraordinary experience the entire audience would never forget.
For more on upcoming shows and additional info on Dillon Francis, visit www.dillonfrancis.com