Sage Francis

By Masta G

The King’s X venue was surprisingly packed for a Sunday night for the London leg of Lex Records’ tour. Frustratingly appearing first on the bill, Francis – the man behind the new Lex Non Prophets LP – kept us riveted with his surreal brand of hick hop. His show CD stolen in Leeds the other day, he ad-libbed and bantered entertainingly with an enthusiastic crowd, spicing up his act with a series of bizarre props (shoes, a comedy wig, broccoli). A couple of spoken word pieces had shades of Phillip Larkin about them, their melancholic intensity demonstrated by the hush which fell over the venue.

But Francis is no shoe gazer and, keen to spread his love ‘like the legs of a crack whore’ he moved on to some dancefloor bangers which got the Scala jumping. Removing his props and various items of clothing over the course of the show, he eventually revealed the whole man beneath it all, perhaps in a comment on the layers of ego and artifice which surround much commercial hip hop, or maybe just to keep us amused. Highly politicised in other ways, he offered a dark vision of a USA where individual liberties could easily be suspended and posed for his final tune as a pasty-faced, overweight version of Captain America. Taking on sex, drugs and spirituality in a determinedly honest fashion and with great musical inventiveness, he left a palpable feeling of disappointment when he had to wind up his show and hand over the vegetable strewn stage to fellow hillbilly Buck 65.
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