FKJ | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren | koofibi.com
FKJ pushes the boundaries of the one-man show at Union Transfer
French multi-instrumentalist FKJ put on a masterclass at Union Transfer on Thursday, showing how one-man bands can control the stage and visually and aurally pleasing to a crowd. Alternately known as French Kiwi Juice (or just Vincent Fenton), FKJ showcased his musicality and technical proficiency with an impressive rig comprised of three guitars, alto and tenor saxophone, a bass guitar, two or three synth keyboards, a sampler, at least one loop pedal, and the piece de resistance, a clear “piano” / lighting rig that added a noir aesthetic to some already haunting tunes. Along with creating live loops, while rapidly switching between all the instruments mentioned above, this “one-man show” also allowed for some great collaborations.
FKJ’s most popular song is his collaboration with Masego on “Tadow” from last year’s Lady Lady, which he performed this weekend with a singing Masego projected on retractable curtains in front of the stage, leading to an intense virtual sax duet. The same was the case when he performed “Vibin’ Out with ((( O )))” featuring ((( O ))), although her contribution was merely adding to the vibe by doing the most beautiful screen test I’ve even seen, while her vocals lulled the crowd to a hush.
Even his covers were all collaborations. Mid-set FKJ broke into a block of covers including “Xxplosive” by Dr. Dre and Hittman (featuring Kurupt, Six-Two, and Nate Dogg), “I Know What You Want” by Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey, and “Frontin'” by Pharrell and Jay-Z. He put his spin on these, adding flourishes and solos to the classics, really combining the roles of DJ, producer and musician.
The projectors also served to highlight FKJ’s solos throughout the night by utilizing tiny cameras set up at each instrument station. One minute you’re looking a peaceful scene of floating jellyfish, then the next you watching up close as FKJ rips a keyboard solo.
The performer showcased a handful of new and unreleased songs, while the night consisted mainly of songs from 2017’s French Kiwi Juice. “Skyline” was another song that incorporated the vocals of ((( O ))). Meanwhile, “Canggu” and “Go Back Home” sound like your favorite house DJ and your favorite jazz-head found a perfect middle ground in the studio. Surprise, they’re actually the same person.