Straight From France and into my Heart: French Kiwi Juice the One Man Band
In the few months that I’ve been covering concerts, there’ve been only a handful which I was looking forward to as much as I was for French Kiwi Juice (FKJ) at Brooklyn Steel on December 3rd. I stumbled upon his self-titled debut album earlier this year and immediately got hooked to the music. When I saw that he was stopping in NYC on his tour I knew I had to find a way to the show.
FKJ, born Vincent Fenton, is a French multi-instrumentalist; in other words he’s a one-man band. His style of music is unique to the electronic genre in that it has heavy organic instrumental elements including profound saxophone solos and accompaniment on the keyboard. At times FKJ’s music is reminiscent of an underground Paris club with everyone dancing and swaying to the beats, and at other times it evokes a beautiful Parisian café with a lovely saxophonist playing in the background as you’re sipping a latte.
I arrived to the venue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn an hour early and the place was already filled close to capacity (the show was sold out). Thankfully Brooklyn Steel has a photo pit so I wasn’t too worried about not getting close enough to get some good shots. I was really stoked in anticipation for the show but didn’t know what to expect and it ended up being one of the best concerts I’ve covered this year.
So when I say that this man is a one-man band, I mean it. On stage he had a keyboard, guitar, bass, saxophone, electronic DJ board and no other people but himself. I kept waiting for a band mates to come out and pick up those instruments, but they never came. FKJ put on one of the more difficult performances from a technical standpoint that I’ve ever seen. He would literally run from one end of the stage to the other during an electronic interlude that he himself started with his board, to grab a guitar in time to riff, then put it down and grabbed the sax to play a solo, after which he’d shimmy over to the keyboard with the sax over his shoulder and play a piano accompaniment. The best part was that he always hit his cue and performed the songs flawlessly.
FKJ’s mastery of every instrument was what impressed me the most during the show. There were several sax solos that were just perfection. The music in general was extremely “chill” and hip swaying. As I was walking around trying to capture shots from several different areas, I spotted numerous couples dancing hand in hand, something that I have never seen at a concert. Especially when the sax was grooving, the people were grooving. There aren’t many lyrics in FKJ’s songs so the heavy focus on the instrumentals let the audience be immersed in the music and dance.
I really can’t recommend listening to FKJ’s music enough, and definitely worth going to see him on tour. You’ll get to see a man exquisitely play at least four different instruments while you dance your little heart out. Go check out French Kiwi Juice when he’s in your neck of the woods!