Joji (Aka. FilthyFrank) was someone I and many teenagers grew up watching and evolving over the years. He was one of the first examples I could think of that showed YouTube was a legitimate trajectory for success in the music industry.
After dropping the heartfelt track, 'Slow Dancing in The Dark,' it was apparent to myself and many others just how talented Joji was as an artist. Before that work, virtually all of his projects were a novelty, incorporating over-the-top antics as pink-guy.
Overall Joji's full-length projects have been hit or miss for me - but his singles are some of my favourites in the Alt-R&B / Lofi Hip Hip scene. On astrxl.awards, we gave Joji's 2022 release, 'a Glimpse of Us,' our number two track of 2022. It had Joji firing on all cylinders and in our own words...
"this stark contrast of visuals + subject matter signifies his internal battle of self-identity."
On top of this release, he's had hits like, 'Slow Dancing in The Dark,' 'Run,' & 'Sanctuary,' which all display this stark distinction. There have always been two sides to Joji, as there are to all of us; it's just so unique that he's personified both artistically - in such a compelling way.
As such, the intro to the concert showed Joji masturbating backstage at Ball Arena in Denver, CO - then going straight into a heartfelt ballad.
The images from this set were challenging to capture, given the stage was set 10 feet off the ground, in tough arena lighting, with strict photo requirements. I was the only photographer allowed to cover this event in Denver, which was a unique experience doing an arena tour with no others.
Joji is a highly talented multi-disciplinary artist, but it did frustrate me a bit that he leaned too far into the novelty aspects of his music. The tracks I mentioned before solidify Joji's legitimacy, and I honestly think he could do an hour-and-a-half set easily without any novelty elements (ex., playing a video game mid set or throwing random items into the crowd).
I get that this is what much of his audience wants, but selfishly, I would love to see Joji self-actualize through Joji and let go of the elements of Pink Guy / Frank for a live performance.
Joji sounded great and overall performed well, just the elements of novelty were a bit overpowering for me. I enjoyed the performance, with that little critique. The lighting and stage design could not have complemented Joji's vocals better with an excellent singing performance.
Joji is always someone who impresses me with his visuals + tracks, and I look forward to seeing one of his future performances.