Photo by Strange Famous Records
Sporting a Strange Famous Records flag as a cape, Sage Francis shook the stage at First Avenue on Saturday night. In a style common to musical theatre—not often associated with independent rap—Francis translated his verses into movement. Fellow Rhode Island native and member of Strange Famous Records B. Dolan opened, wearing a gas mask as he approached the mic. Francis performed songs both from his new album, Copper Gone, as well as older material. The two big, bald men rattled the venue with verses of angry political sentiment along with the intricate ode to language found in “Thank You.” “It was a period without periods, run on sentences were like binges / I was a comma with no cause, a rebel with no clause.”
Photo by Michelle Doeden
Cecil Otter, another member of Strange Famous Records, opened for Sage Francis. To the crowd’s delight, fellow Doomtree member Dessa joined in for “Little Mercy,” ready to show off her pipes. P.O.S. joined for the final song, further sending the crowd into jubilance. The night of independent rap was nurtured by the music played between each set: Eyedea & Abilities. Spurts of people rapped along to “Spin Cycle,” and the evening ended with Francis’ shoutout to Eyedea.
Though the performance featured an array of chilling political messages (Francis at one point held the mic stand like a rifle), the show was not entirely grim. In fact, the backdrop projections displayed a slideshow of Francis and his cats! And, the few jabs at Macklemore did not go unappreciated.