We saw Kris Fuchigami at Island Bazaar

ailevin

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Wonderful concert Saturday evening in Huntington Beach. With his mom, Keiko, on keyboards, he played two sets with a 15 minute break. His command of the instrument is amazing, but as impressed as I was with his technique, his musicality is what stands out. He phrases so beautifully, and everything he plays is uniquely his own. It’s like the ukulele come alive in his hands. His ukulele lines just sing in a way that I have rarely heard.

I’ve been a fan for over a year, but this is the first time I’ve seen him perform live.
 
I have a good and not so good story involving Kris. A number of years ago Kris and his mom did a performance and workshop at U-SPACE in Little Tokyo, which I attended, great experience. He had the attendees breakup into threes and come up with a song as a experience in collaboration. I and another person were left, so Kris sat in with us. He had everyone give their group a name, I named us, Two Posers and a Ringer, he liked that.

The not so good was when my group of 25 was booked to play at a uke festival a few years later. We were set to go on right after Kris and his mom. Each act had a certain time, but Kris went way over and we were forced to cut our time in half. Did not sit well with us.
 
Kris and Keiko played last year at a senior center in JTown, San Jose. It was preceded by a workshop option. What was really outstanding was that it was in a medium size room and attended by maybe 40 people. So I sat in the second row of folding chairs, which meant that I was about twelve feet away from him. The intimate setting beats an auditorium or outdoor stage anytime.

Somehow, he first came to my attention with his youtube rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You":

 
He's a fantastic player and was from the git-go... and knew it. He was admittedly a bit cocky when he was younger, which got him in trouble. He's mentioned this in interviews....can't remember which ones, otherwise I'd link it.

edit, he talks about it in his interview with Brad Bordessa.
 
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He has some wonderful youtube perfomances with the guys at TUS and also on HI Sessions. His verison of Europa on HI*Sessions is outstanding. During the concert last weekend he gave credit to both of those organizations for changing the course of his career. He has been working full time at a supermarket warehouse since graduating high school in 2008. He was playing a weekly gig with his mom on the big island and he got a call from HI Sessions to do a performance (about ten years ago). Once that hit the internet he started getting much more attention and went on the TUS podcast. It sounds like he and Kalei had known each other as kids in ukulele competitions.
 
The not so good was when my group of 25 was booked to play at a uke festival a few years later. We were set to go on right after Kris and his mom. Each act had a certain time, but Kris went way over and we were forced to cut our time in half. Did not sit well with us.
That's a bummer! I will say, the festival coordinators have a responsibility to keep their acts on time. They should be giving em a light or a signal of some sort to wrap up and even go up and say.. "ok.. thanks for that last song. Give it up for (insert act here)."

I think some shows often run a little slow, so it might also be prudent for you guys to run your normal set (or at least do more than half) and run a little long as well.
 
I have a good and not so good story involving Kris. A number of years ago Kris and his mom did a performance and workshop at U-SPACE in Little Tokyo, which I attended, great experience. He had the attendees breakup into threes and come up with a song as a experience in collaboration. I and another person were left, so Kris sat in with us. He had everyone give their group a name, I named us, Two Posers and a Ringer, he liked that.

The not so good was when my group of 25 was booked to play at a uke festival a few years later. We were set to go on right after Kris and his mom. Each act had a certain time, but Kris went way over and we were forced to cut our time in half. Did not sit well with us.
What did the crowd think?
 
That's a bummer! I will say, the festival coordinators have a responsibility to keep their acts on time. They should be giving em a light or a signal of some sort to wrap up and even go up and say.. "ok.. thanks for that last song. Give it up for (insert act here)."

I think some shows often run a little slow, so it might also be prudent for you guys to run your normal set (or at least do more than half) and run a little long as well.
There was a person standing in the audience signaling the acts to finish, Kris ignored the signals. But I still like his performances.
What did the crowd think?
I'm sure they didn't notice since the performances were continuos.
 
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