Bathed in meticulously pointed, multi-chromatic stage lighting, fingers dancing atop various string instruments, FKJ put his usual spell on the sold-out crowd at The Warfield last night, his second-to-last US tour stop.
Vincent Fenton—the French multi-instrumentalist, singer, and musician who professionally goes by the alias French Kiwi Juice (FKJ)—has garnered a newfound fanbase from coast to coast and, frankly, continent to continent. So, when Fenton, including his gaggle of instruments and turntables, first took center stage last night at the mid-Market venue, the over 2,000 in attendance howled with joy.
But by FKJ’s, standards, the crowd that night was more intimate than past playings; Fenton’s taken gigs at such large-scale festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Lightning in a Bottle, just in the past two years, alone. This Tuesday evening, too, saw nearly his entire catalog in full swing, playing hits from Fenton’s first (and thus far, only) self-titled LP, French Kiwi Juice, including “Skyline,” “Vibin’ Out”—which features vocals from his tour’s opening act and IRL wife, (((O)))—and “Canggu,” as well as single-only releases like “Tadow,” to a visibly ecstatic crowd.
What was also on display during FKJ’s nearly 90-minute set was that he’s unlike any other of his immediate contemporaries. He’s astute at the fundamentals of nu-jazz; he weaves together both new- and old-school R&B without as much of a hiccup; he, through some manner of witchcraft, incorporated French house beats with nu-disco bridges and breaks to transport listeners to melodious utopias.
And, in some cases, artistically inspiring ones, at that.
“I was just listening to him this morning, and was immediately inspired to pick-up drawing abstracts, something I haven’t done in awhile," says fellow concert goer Jason Cortella. “Someone turned me on to him earlier this week, and I instantly became a fan.”
As the evening began to die down, the in-venue bar corralling yet-settled tabs as reluctant crowds began making their ways toward exits, FKJ’s impression on the masses was palatable. Suffice to say we’re keenly waiting for the next time Fenton makes his way to the Bay Area, for our second enspelling.
In the meantime, sift through his catalog on Spotify and check out a couple of my favorite FKJ music videos, below:
Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons