“Talented! So talented! Talent! So much talent!” After the French Kiwi Juice show, at SOhO on Sunday, March 20th, those were the only words that came to mind when asked by Kirk Reed, founder of We The Beat, what I thought of the performance.
My excitement caused this odd stutter of what I had just witnessed and after two years of reviewing shows, I can easily say that I’ve never been as impressed by an artist who I was unfamiliar with as I was after watching French Kiwi Juice (or FKJ for short). He was pure talent, ability, and artistry. Not only was his music incredibly tasteful, fun, and intricately composed, it was the work of one man – a legitimate virtuoso.
FKJ fans were a group of mellow chillers, rowdy dancers, and a few plurred out ravers. They lined up early and were brimming with energy to see the French multi-instrumentalist. The sold out club grew warmer as the crowd packed themselves tighter and tighter.
FKJ came out on stage and few people starting chanting “F-K-J!” The artist smiled, he had a quiet humility and presence of mind about him. He let his music and performance do the talking, free from any gimmicks. Every song bumped and popped in all the right places: every instrument gave each song layers of sparkling tones and deep grounding bass lines, as sax and keyboard solos were layered on top of funky guitar riffs to create climaxes which fizzled back into ambient synths and warm piano riffs.
FKJ played five instruments: the bass, guitar, keyboard, saxophone, and the turntables. He also sang on a couple songs and he had a very good voice. A few songs in the set, FKJ was really warmed up. “You ready for this one?” FKJ said into the mic. “This is the Lianne La Havas, FKJ Remix.”
He picked up his Fender P-bass, his face full of joy and groove, and then started jamming a heavy heart-expanding bass line. He riffed off into these crazy soulful and funkadelic bass lines, sliding up and down the fret board. On his song, “So Much To Me,” he plucked a few bright pick lines that gave the song some vibrato funk textures, and then he picked up the sax for a ripping solo. This guy was astonishing. After an hour of watching one man create with loops and turntables and live instruments I was totally blow away. There’s simply no other way to explain it.
FKJ is a virtuoso for the ages. His music is impossible to not enjoy. I’m going to be playing it from spring to summer — that’s one thing I know for sure.