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In concert: Francis and the Lights at DC9

STFrancisLightsweb193.jpgFrancis and the Lights: Frenetic, funky fun at DC9 Saturday night. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Ally Schweitzer

We all know the teen movie cliché about the geek who blossoms into a superstar. That kid who spends high school on the periphery, quietly reading Russian philosophy in the cafeteria every day for four years - the boy no one really noticed until he showed up to senior prom in a white tuxedo and blew everyone away with a killer robot dance. In this inspiring chapter from high school mythology, that kid may have gone on to become the leader of Francis and the Lights. Oh, and he's not Abe Katz-Milder anymore - you can call him Francis Farewell Starlite.

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It's a silly name, but when you have as much star power as the eccentric, funky Starlite, you've earned it. His New York-based band broke off from its tour with hip hop It-boy Drake to deliver a string of thrilling soul-pop jams at DC9 Saturday evening, whipping everyone into such a frenzy that it was easy to forget the club was only half full.

Instantly satisfying pop songs like "Strawberries" and "Striking" - shamelessly pilfered from the Prince songbook - inspired no-holds-barred booty shaking and singing along from the crowd. But the singer's bizarre personality is the X factor that adds an intriguing dimension to his frenetic live act.

His unforgettably spastic dance moves might seem like the therapeutic indulgence of a deeply repressed soul, but underneath his affectations is a rigid structure of control and order. Even tiny mistakes on stage threw Starlite into mini-conniptions - he ordered the band to stop playing when he realized he'd forgotten his tambourine in the green room. Because no one stands in the way of Francis Farewell Starlite when the time comes to get his shake on. And they'd be crazy to - this star is ready to high-tail it to another galaxy.

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By Ally Schweitzer  |  April 19, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Francis and the Lights  
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