Saturday night at Webster Hall was a bleak scene. It seemed most people were reluctant to be out. After all, to get anywhere at all, one had to trek through muddy snow, keep a close eye out for the black ice, all while the wintery mix continued to fart down from above. After excessive train delays and two near death experiences with elements, I finally made it downstairs to the Studio at Webster Hall to be greeted by a half empty room. Great, I thought. THIS is what I came out for?

Enter Francisco the Man, a four-piece outfit hailing from California. Without a greeting to the rest of us in the room, they began. For a band with only one full length album out, they sounded great –like eerily good, like they’d been playing together for years. They vibed so well that it only took a glance (if that) to communicate with one another.

Francisco the Man is a 30/30/40 blend of garage rock, shoegaze, and the better bits of indie rock. Lead man, Scotty Cantino was rocking a Sonic Youth tee (which makes complete and utter sense). If the tracks “Teen Age Riot” by Sonic Youth and “Velouria” by the Pixies had it out in a trashed bar brawl, the spoils left on the ground would be inspirational lifeblood of Francisco the Man. Each song almost seamlessly rolled into the next. Each song was well composed, and although reverb heavy, the intricacies found a way to shine through. The peak performance wise was when they’d lose composure – Cantino’s face red hot from singing loudly, his voice breaking rawly, finding it hard to keep himself contained to his side of the stage.

Currently, “Progress” ranks as my favorite track. I must have listened to it 15x over before the show, partly because it’s so damn catchy, and partly because I was trying to figure out what the H he was saying. (FYI- lyrics aren’t online). When played, it was the only point in the show I was able to bop around a little. Not because the sound isn’t good (because it is) but because this is music you can’t exactly dance to, and you can’t exactly cry to either. You almost just have to stand still, let it wash over you, and hope to get lost.

At the end of the show, I approached Cantino to thank him for a good show and ask for a set list. He replied, “Oh, we don’t have one.”  To me, this struck me as a true testament to how well they played together. Come to find out, these guys have been playing together for nearly ten years and just last year released their debut full length on Fat Possum Records. The sound doesn’t lie, people.

Even through the disgusting weather, I was happy I got my ass over to Manhattan on a weekend. It’s nights I’m thankful for my ongoing musical journey, because at the end of the day, I was seeing a great band whose obvious influences are my own, and I could truly enjoy their interpretation of such. In an awful parallel universe, said journey could have come to a hard stop around the age of 15, in which case, that very same night, I would have been upstairs at Webster Hall for the Silverstein show instead. Lesson learned?  They’re worst things than wintery mix.

Article by: Maria Bhim


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