FKA twigs’ gig didn’t start until 9:30, by which point a large portion of the audience frustrated, having waited for over 2 hours. The curtains raised bit by bit, riling the crowd further. “This show had better be good” muttered someone behind me, thankfully, it was.
Twigs’ vocals were often restrained, she leaned on her backing track throughout the performance, typically this would be a cause for criticism, but here the choice was artistically motivated. FKA Twigs unleashed her incredible vocals at emotional climaxes of songs, and what a voice it is. Whether whispering or reaching angelic high-notes, Tahliah Barnett’s voice is a force of nature, leaving concertgoers at Brixton Academy in no doubt of her vocal prowess, or the passion behind the voice. A vocal highlight came which was a vulnerable performance of ‘Mirrored Heart’, where twigs’ voice trembled with emotional, even stifling, sobs before the final line “They just remind me I’m without you”.
An impressive element of the performance was that each song had been tweaked, with drums and percussion amplified as well as extended instrumental sections allowing for choreographed dances. Rather than relying on a backing track each instrumental was created by a trio of musicians, playing cello, electric drums and a variety of other instruments. The trio resourcefully reconstructed each track with the resources they had, giving the audience a somewhat fresh interpretation of each track. Enough praise cannot be given for this approach, a laudable effort from a primarily electronic artist to keep their live performances organic and human.
Anyone familiar with FKA twigs will be aware she came into the world of music as a dancer. With a small team of backup dancers, she executed impressive routines featuring Capoeira and at one point, pole dancing. FKA twigs rocked a series of ornate costumes throughout the evening, even the set changed halfway through the night, with a cloudy backdrop falling to reveal a scaffold like structure, atop which her backing band was playing.
FKA twigs added impressive depth to her tracks, creating one of the best shows I’ve seen.