Meet Fanfarlo’s openers: Robert Francis, Lawrence Arabia

When these three band bills come through town, there usually is a common thread between the bands. I’m scratching my head trying to figure THIS one out. I’m pretty well schooled in Robert Francis and Lawrence Arabia’s stuff (and I’m taking a crash course in Fanfarlo this week) and I can’t find any similarities in sound or backgrounds between these three. Maybe the common denominator is that I like all 3 bands and some booking agent knew that.

Robert Francis is a 22-year-old “kid” who sounds like what I imagine Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges’s character from Crazy Heart) would sound like if he was a rock club singer rather than a country singer. Francis has that “old soul” sound – not “soul” as in “soul music” but “soul” as in the dude sounds like he’s lived through a LOT of hard times and has been spinning his tales for 40 years to anyone that will listen. He’s the singer that I’ve always hoped Pete Yorn would be. And, he gets a stamp of approval from Carson Daly.

Lawrence Arabia is the name under which James Milne records (along with his band) and if you didn’t know better, you’d be forgiven if you mistook the band’s latest, Chant Darling, for a Kiwi-influenced George Harrison solo album. Seriously, check out “Apple Pie Bed” and tell me you don’t think it’s heavily influenced by Harrison and/or any one of the Beatles.

Lawrence Arabia, Robert Francis, and Fanfarlo play at Outland on Liberty on April 1. Tickets are $5 and the show starts at 8pm.

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