May 12, 2019 at Royale
Anytime an FKJ song plays, his unique style is almost instantly recognizable. Heavily inspired by jazz and blues, Vincent Fenton is often described as the pioneer of the New French House genre and has modestly inspired a new host of “Low-Fi” producers and musicians. Known professionally as French Kiwi Juice, it’s often hard to describe his music in one genre. On the surface, FKJ utilizes elements of jazz, rhythm and blues mixed with a hearty dose of electronic influence – even sometimes bordering on experimental. Although, while his music is enough reason to buy a ticket and experience his set live – the real artistry stems from his impressive musicianship.
Not only did FKJ start his set at the Royale by showcasing his impressive skills on the piano, Fenton has also mastered the guitar, drums, bass, and saxophone. FKJ is a renaissance man in its true form, comfortably juggling multiple instruments the entire set. As an audience member, you’re able to witness the entire composition of his music live on stage, truly appreciating the number of sonic layers he incorporates. After laying down the chords to ‘Skyline’, Fenton effortlessly loops and transitions from each instrument all while mixing the tracks in real time. Creating music is hard enough – it’s truly impressive when the artist can display their musicianship on stage; treating the concert almost as a masterclass rather than a live performance. A few minutes into his set, a translucent screen quietly descended in front of the stage. His shadow magnified from the lights behind him painted the canopy adding a whole new dimension to his set. In most of his songs, his silhouettes were projected on to either side each playing a different melody or riff from his music – essentially transforming his one-man-band into a stylish enable of musicians.
The most spectacular use of his unique set was displayed during tracks that featured various artists and producers. On Losing My Way, Tom Misch is teleported to Boston, appearing on the screen and lending his smooth guitar riffs while FKJ complements on bass. Using this set to display other artists like Masego on his popular track Tadow is easily one of the most unique ways to give credit to other musicians that I’ve ever witnessed. Adding this third dimension to the live set is captivating and often magical. Rain seemly cascades down the screen onto Fenton’s array of gear while his shadow softly plays a jazzed chord progression.
FKJ mixed his usual set of well-known songs like “Go Back Home” and “Better Give You Up” with a few tracks of new music and dozens of improvised licks. After looping a few synth tracks, FKJ effortlessly begins to DJ – mixing and rearranging the sounds into his own creation all together. The audience was continuously captivated over and over, watching FJK switch from instrument to synth as if his mind was lost in his own music. He ended his set with “So Much To Me” a track showcasing everything he does best. Fenton composes a simple guitar and bass riff with modulated vocals and plenty of electronics, all while improvising piano over his melodies. Listening to FKJ perform live truly allowed the audience to witness the genius in his arrangements and gaining the respect as a musician he deserves.