2/13/20 – The W

Dusk fell as the night howled with unabashed Bostonian winter winds; the W was brimming with music enthusiasts with rosés in hands and smiles plastered across their eager faces. Soft shades of warm purples and whites canopied the room, the lights dimmed to a warm hue, and the cold night outside was soon forgotten. Donning a royal velvet blue blazer set against her cascading crimson mane, up-and-coming DJ Francesca “Ceskie” Rijks stormed the stage with finesse and fire in her eyes. With the graceful confidence of a seasoned DJ, she commanded attention as she fearlessly began her hour-long set.

Rijks, originally from the United Kingdom, is in her final year at Berklee College of Music. There, she studies music production and performance. She is a classically trained musician, with credentials that include recording with composer Thomas Newman and playing at a private event for Prince William. Besides her portfolio brimming with impressive performances as a professional violinist, pianist and composer, Rijks’ true passion comes in the form of producing EDM music and DJing—something you cannot miss while she is on stage. Her sheer enthusiasm is fervent and contagious. Watching her spin a musical narrative is fascinating to watch.

What makes Rijks so remarkable is the grace and ease she possesses while she performs. She is also versatile; the curation of her set reflects her broad range of influences. Rijks is the epitome of an old soul with a young spirit; her time spent as a session musician translates impeccably to her abilities as a DJ. Her patience, poise, and natural way of maneuvering the booth is impressive and proves it key to her future success.

Her chosen theme for the night was a funk-infused set that added a palpably electric mood to the throbbing dance floor. She eased into her set with “Trip” by Ella Mai and “How Do You Sleep?” by Sam Smith. She then progressed into darker, more sensually-charged tracks like “Filthy” by Justin Timberlake and “Cool Girl” by Tove Lo–the young DJ had the W captivated. Her beats flooded the darkening venue as the crowd danced in time. Despite the missing amenities that DJs typically need in assisting their sets, such as a backdrop and visuals to engage the audience, Rijks skillfully enthralled and captured the audience without anything extra. While the W is a good hangout spot to grab drinks at, Rijks would better fit at a venue that could accommodate her impactful sets, such as the Royale or the Sinclair. The W lacked space and visuals for Rijk’s explosive tracks and enticing connection with her audience.

Rijks played constant hits that transitioned seamlessly one after another, which kept the audience engaged and in tune with her throughout the night. She closed out the show with a hip-hop influenced sequence, including the tracks “Must Be Love” by Yung Bae and “Happy Valentine’s Day” by OutKast. Despite the W’s limited resources for the ambitious young DJ, Rijks showed her maturity and confidence as a musician—she is noticeably comfortable and ecstatic as she concocts a mesmerizing atmosphere packed with devotion to EDM, funk, hip-hop, and electronica.

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