French Kiwi Juice Brings the Sounds of Paris to Union Transfer

Concert Review, EDM, R&B

Immediately upon arrival to Philly’s own Union Transfer on Sunday evening, I took one look at the stage setup and smiled cheek to cheek. Sure enough, I laid eyes on a saxophone, keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, MPC-stand, microphone, and a grand piano; inevitable dopeness was about to ensue.

I was pleasantly surprised with both openers. The first act Cezaire played some jams. Throwing his own flavor on Childish Gambino‘s “Redbone,” Anderson .Paak‘s “Am I Wrong” and even the throwback “Got Til’ It’s Gone” by Janet Jackson. Dude really had me grooving. Dabeull was up next, and this guy transported everyone in the building back to 1978. Playing disco, techno, and strings galore. He even threw some of George Benson‘s “Give Me The Night”, and the audience began to move like a relaxing current out at sea.

24-year-old FKJ, dreads and all, made his way onto the stage and the first instrument he grasps was the sax. After a very brief sax warm-up, he goes right into his newly released album’s intro “We Ain’t Feeling Time” looping the drums with the MPC and proceeding to rip the sax. What came next was one of the many “WOW” moments of the performance for myself. Being that he has to bounce back and forth between six different instruments, you could maybe understand if he just played a recording of his voice when it was time for the vocals, but nope. This man threw the sax over his shoulder and hopped on the mic. And it didn’t sound like some watered down version of the vocals on the album, he sounded pretty damn good. His immensely diverse range of talent was on display right off the bat.

For his next track, he decided to take us back a little bit to one of his early hits “Instant Need” off his Time For A Change EP. He exclaimed to the crowd it was “time for some old shit” and he hopped on the piano.He began to play the melody for “Instant Need” and you heard the excitement of his fans in the crowd who recognized this early favorite from FKJ’s catalog. Continuing to move through the instruments on stage with ease he strapped on the guitar next. When it was time to hop back on the piano, he simply threw the guitar over his shoulder and laced the piano like a pro. All the while he was hopping back and forth between instruments while barely missing a note. Here’s a little video from “Instant Need.”

He continued to move through his self-titled album that dropped a few weeks prior, playing “Better Give U Up” and “Canggu,” throwing a couple oldies and remixes in between. Now it was time for a few of his better-known jams off the album, the singles “Skyline,” “Lying Together,” and “Go Back Home.” First was “Skyline” and he ripped the keyboard while the crowd chanted the sing-along friendly hook. While in-between hooks he hit a little impromptu solo on the electric keyboard that was heavenly.

The way he introduced “Lying Together” by first playing the album’s interlude was nothing short of divine, as well. Once again, he was showing his pure musicianship on the piano by inserting random echoes of “baby” chimed in, so the crowd got a hint at what he was about to drop.

His final cut of the performance was the dance-friendly track “Joy.” Enjoy this little bit of keys and improvised saxophone brilliance in the below video.

After re-entering and performing one of my favorite cuts from the album, the fitting “Go Back Home” for an encore, the French sensation was out. He simply did not disappoint. Check out more of his music and our full photo gallery from the show below.

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