For a moment, forget everything you know about FKA twigs. Forget that her 2014 Mercury nominated debut, LP1, received rave reviews from every major music critic; that her whispery, sensual vocals has categorised her as part of an “alternative RnB” movement (far from it in fact); and more importantly, forget that she’s dating Robert Pattinson.
Rather, FKA twigs, aka 27-year-old Tahliah Debrett Barnett, is an enigma – as complex as the braided hairstyles she sometimes sports or her outer-worldly videos. So, when she appears on stage at her sold-out Sydney concert at the Metro, she does it to the sound of a huge reverberating drone, her face clouded in darkness, with the spotlight shining only on her outfit – white, wide legged three-quarter pants, matching white vest, and a long-sleeved black mesh top with gold bra underneath.
Throughout the show all focus is on FKA twigs, with her band mere silhouettes in the background. When you do notice them it’s because of a beat or a sample that leaps out at you — a clear glockenspiel, samples of clanging metal, or some fast drumming in sync with strobe lights. Meanwhile, FKA twigs is the all-encompassing mesmerising figure, her lithe, long limbs dancing like some type of Egyptian goddess, a gentle, feminine touch amongst the complex, industrial sounds.
Her performance background and years spent working in London’s cabaret circuit is evident. During Pendulum she gyrates her hips in front of an audience member as if preparing to devour what’s in front of her. Then, like the end of an act, the lights suddenly go dark, she disappears, the crowd cheers and begs for more, and she jumps back to a dub-step remix of the song.
In Video Girl, the strobe spotlight follows her across the stage making her look like a moving digital image; and during Two Weeks she puts in the same amount of passion and sensuality as the lyrics suggest.
When she finally addresses the audience she expresses that it’s “really overwhelming that I have so many people who support me overseas.” Then, at the end of her closing song and with no promise of an encore, she says, “I’ll come back and see you soon.” She sounds genuine.
FKA twigs completes her Australian tour at Laneway Festivals Adelaide, Melbourne and Fremantle this weekend.