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You Can’t Blame the Youth

July 21st, 2010

Robert Francis – Mercury Lounge – July 20, 2010

Robert Francis - Mercury Lounge - July 20, 2010
While sports and movie stars seem to become massively popular (and sometimes even talented) before they’re of the legal age, musicians often follow a slightly slower path (unless you’re Justin Bieber). Last night, however, Robert Francis made the case for the youngest generation of rockers during his hour-long set at Mercury Lounge.

The much-buzzed-about Francis carried himself as a mature but lighthearted 22-year-old in between songs, and the level of implied experience skyrocketed with each squealing guitar solo he loosed from his Les Paul. He was surrounded by a full complement of bandmates who supplied a range of sounds from bass and drums to organ and slide guitar. But Francis’s band didn’t contain all of the normal trappings of the folk-based sound they played so well. His pure and engaging voice was often left alone with just the slightest of harmonies eking their way through the speakers, so the set played more like a singer-songwriter sound with a lush background of music to go along with those vocal and lyrical abilities.

With the spotlight on him, Francis had the Mercury Lounge crowd in the palm of his hands while he crooned during introspective (and undeniably catchy) songs like “Junebug.” He concluded his set with one last impressive aural shift, taking his high school-dropout tune, “All of My Trains,” from pin-drop quiet to boisterous guitar solos at the end. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com