FKJ at the Roundhouse
FKJ slickly filled the cavernous Roundhouse with loop-driven dance music that filtered throughout the shuffling, sold-out crowd. Feel-good by force, the solo FKJ showed how easy it can be to rock a venue all by yourself.
Opening for the French multi-instrumentalist was shamanic ((( O ))), practising more theatre than music. She drifted and jerked around the stage as if possessed by the eerie rhythm of her own wailing vocals and thudding drums. However, the performative quickly became crystalline and ((( O ))) began to resemble a bass-backed Erykah Badu, as bewitching as she was bewitched. The sample-heavy tracks, joined by her flute solos, set the tone for the night: a heady mix of electronic drive and jazz-inspired soulfulness.
FKJ came on obscured by curtains at the front of the stage, projected with the rushing lights and scenes of metropolitan melodrama. The rising synth forewarned a heavier atmosphere that never arrived. Instead, it was a show of technicolour with the musician’s piano lit up like an EQ board; luscious shots of jungle or otherworldly, underwater scenes produced an eerie sense of distance, leaving the crowd to merely peer in on FKJ’s sonic factory of guitars, drums and synths
The highlights of the show came all too soon: a surprise appearance by Tom Misch for Losing My Way galvanised the audience to a point that they would never return to for the concert’s duration. The pair’s winding, playful performance gave way to FKJ’s stadium style solos on guitar, and blistering improvisations on keys and sax. Groove-full tracks like Better Give Up from his eponymous 2017 album, as well as the soon-to-be released Leave My Home, showed an artist in full control of the subtleties and sudden surges, the technical and the technological. At times however, FKJ’s forays into insipid dance tracks rode roughshod over the impressive nuances of his multi-instrument musicianship.
The sheer volume of building loops and filtered vocals, combined with the grand AV show, provided a convincing illusion of scale and fun by design. However, the greatest moments of FJK’s performance became apparent when we were distinctly aware of just the man and the music, not the man obscured by the machines.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit FKJ’s website here.
Watch the video for Losing My Way here: