It commenced in the street with FKJ. There was an extensive line to the box office and the apprehension was apparent. Then there he was; French Kiwi Juice low key capturing a video of the music junkies filing up to the ticket window, ninety percent of which would not get into 1up - Colfax. At 10:40 p.m., near the beginning of Darius’ set, the sign went up “SOLD OUT”. I could smell the disappointment to the left of the window, and feel the anxious buzz to the right, for ahead was another line to enter “mini-Paris” in Denver.
“There’s a line outside of an arcade bar??” - Clearly this dude walking by was clueless; the 1up - Colfax wears more than one face. Besides claiming title to Denver’s best bar for retro arcade entertainment, the establishment routinely hosts musicians celebrated on the local and national level. Last night however, the venue went global. The unforeseen contrast between the chaotic gaming space and the stage room enhanced the feeling of escape. Upon entrance, we left behind our loyalties, let go the intricacies of the day, said goodbye to our responsibilities, and welcomed the possibility of liberation. For four hours, the venue became paradise.
Drones. Everyone looked like drones. The dopamine saturated room was littered with beings perfectly in sync with one another; living manifestations of the sound dictating their movements. Even Darius appeared robotic, but in a beautiful, almost superhuman way. Honestly though, who wears a heavy flannel for a two hour set and doesn’t break a sweat?
Last night, he was a King among men, demonstrating power through his authentic house style and communicating his good intentions with popular tracks “Maliblue” and “Hot hands”. Unlike most authoritative relationships, this one was received with open arms.
Did you know Velour, the title of his 2012 album, means a plush knitted fabric? The word accurately chronicles Darius’ signature sound. Even his unconventional remix of Snoop Dog’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot” was royally smooth and by all means ‘plush’. During one of his tracks, the back lighting shone blue while a beam of red hot light fell on his being. The color scheme enhanced amorous notions proceeding performances from the Romance EP, and felt deeply in touch with themes of power and passion. Near the end of his set, Darius unleashed a lengthy, hovering synth note similar to the conclusion of several songs like “Espoir”. In this connecting moment, he let go his stoic appearance, gazed into the crowd, and graciously put his hands together. The best Kings are humble ones.
^^^VERY CAESAR-esk DON'T YOU THINK?^^^
It’s almost incomprehensible how I didn’t notice the keyboard on stage until FKJ appeared at 12:10 a.m. As much investigating as I did prior, it blows my mind I did not realize his entire set would be performed live. With a bass guitar draping from his shoulder, French Kiwi Juice revealed his inexplicably fast hands on the keys, perfectly suited for the opening track and fan favorite “Instant Need”, instantly altering the venue tone.
The musically inclined are an outstanding species of which rare gems like FKJ are particularly exceptional. Most surprising of all, beyond mastering the bass, keys, and turntable, FJK managed to dance all the while, his lush dreads bouncing with the beat. The set was jazzy and beaming with soul, featuring tracks predominantly from The Take Off and Time for a Change EPs. Merci beaucoup, or many thanks, to French Kiwi Juice for helping us “Learn to Fly” with the ease and grace of a true sound guru.
As is standard, the lights came up all too quickly. Never again will these two artistic geniuses play in a U.S. venue setting as intimate as last night’s. Their ascendance to the throne will be swift and we peasants will be left to bask in the memories of a blissful night spent in a club among Parisian music royalty.
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Author: Haley Midzor
Photography: Dylan Bowman