“I have fond memories of Brighton,” the artist ‘formerly known as’ Twigs reveals. “I used to play shows on the pier but no-one was watching then”.
The world is certainly watching now. FKA Twigs is embarking on a massive world tour which kicks off tonight at the Dome Studio Theatre. It’s sold out, the venue is packed and it feels like we are waiting an eternity in the heat for her to come onstage. The anticipation is electric and there’s definitely a feeling that we could be about to witness something very special.
‘Video Girl’ confronts Twigs’ past as a dancer in music videos and throughout the night she gives off flashes of her former training; twisting and contorting like a Replicant to her band’s moody neo-noir backdrop. The stage is covered in massive flash bulbs which illuminate in time with each jarring electronic note.
It has been a big year for 26-year-old Tahliah Debrett Barnett or FKA Twigs as she’s now universally known. Her first full length ‘LP 1’ has been received favourably with the often unpleasable Pitchfork stamping it an impressive 8.8. This certainly won’t hurt her efforts to break America. Neither will her spellbinding performance at Webster Hall in New York in August which included a very unique way of picking up a microphone mid dance routine. She has also been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Award and had to combat vile racist online attacks from diehard Twilight fans after it was revealed she is dating Robert Pattinson.
Twigs keeps her conversation to a minimum throughout the show but her demeanour is magnetic. Looking around the venue, every face in the audience is transfixed. ‘Give Up’ pushes her sonic palette into the darkly cinematic in much the same way The Weeknd’s ‘Kissland’ nods to David Cronenberg and horror.
‘Lights Out’ sounds maleficently thunderous live, her band hammering electronic drum pads in a performance as futuristic and tribal as Kanye West performing ‘Black Skinhead’. The hypnotised crowd awaken from their trance to lavish Twigs with rapturous applause for this one.
After a very short exit, Twigs returns to perform what are arguably her two biggest hits: ‘Water Me’ and ‘2 Weeks’. The latter is her biggest pop statement to date and in the context of the live setting places her somewhere in between Aaliyah and Grimes. It sounds huge, so much so that the sound at times seems to briefly cut out of the drum pads.
Her voice has been crystalline and pitch perfect tonight. The band provides a perfectly dystopian channel for her soulful future R&B to flow through. She leaves the stage for the last time but promises she’ll visit again. We won’t be seeing her in a venue this size next time.