On Friday the 3rd I saw FKA Twigs live at the Institute in Digbeth, Birmingham, and frankly I’m still in awe two days on. A stark contrast the the kid of gigs I usually frequent where you leave with ominous bruises and mild concussion, I spent the night in a dream-like trance. A friend had introduced me to Twigs but a few weeks previously, after insisting that I come to the UK tour following her debut LP1, and grateful doesn’t even begin to cover it. FKA Twigs’ unique brand of hip hop is murky and hypnotic, yet once you get into it you’re absolutely hooked. When we arrived, missing the support act by mere minutes, we found ourselves in a darkened, packed room. The crowd were an eclectic collection of people, with ages ranging from teenagers to people well into their middle ages. Once FKA Twigs came on though, the entire room went silent, absolutely captivated by that was going on onstage.
She launched into ‘Preface’ and the tiny stage of the Library was transformed. The thing about FKA Twigs is she is not only an incredibly talented singer and producer, but she also is an incredible dancer, having worked with the likes of Jessie J and Taio Cruz before pursuing a career in music. When she wasn’t filling the room with her soothingly layered vocals, she was dancing on stage, but not in a cringey choreographed backing dancer way. With each movement to the beat of the music, her body contorted into a mesmerising show as the stage filled with smoke. This blended with spectacular light shows and an audience who responded to her every move, the result was an incredibly memorable performance.
The audience in particular contributed to the overall success of this gig, as they knew every word and weren’t afraid to move to the music. Nothing can ruin a concert more than the performer on stage giving it their all to a room full of stone cold corpses, and believe me I have been to far too many of that variety. However, the atmosphere in that tiny room was the most relaxed I’ve ever experienced, and self-conciousness seemed to go out of the (non existent) window as people of all ages got down to the synth beats which filled the room. Powering through well known numbers such as ‘Ache’ and ‘Water Me’, the room changed with the mood of the music. Personal highlights have to come in the form of never previously performed ‘Video Girl’, a favourite of mine, and ‘Two Weeks’, her most famous release to date. The small room came alive, it really was a sight to behold.
There is something special about a gig when the audience moves as one, and I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything quite like Friday night. Her individual style appeals to all sorts of people and the way her music can unify such a diverse crowd really was phenomenal. If you’ve never listened to FKA Twigs before, be sure to check her out and I would thoroughly recommend going to her next tour, as I most certainly will be there.
Words by Paula Lacey