FKA Twigs at Camden Roundhouse Review
If you haven’t heard of FKA Twigs then I suggest you crawl back under that rock you came from. Grammy nominee FKA Twigs has caused quite a stir in the music scene with the release of her debut album ‘LP1’
Debut album ‘LP1’ released back in August of 2014 has been hailed as an album like no other. Since previous releases, [EP1 & EP2] it is clear Twigs has grown into her own. At times she does falls short with her lyrics that can be quite random, and quite often whispered. You spend minutes trying to decipher something that you realize has no other meaning. Not a problem though, because sonically and visually ‘LP1’ is a body of work that is cohesive through and through. We were stood at the gates before, but with ‘LP1’ she opens up and let’s us into her territory.
Signed to British Independent record label Yung Turks, there is no surprise to her sound, when you examine her label peers such as Sampha and SBTRKT. Her sound is “alternative” R&B, steering a little away from the box standard she fits into the same group as other artists such as Banks, The Weeknd and even Jhene Aiko.
Back from touring with her debut album ‘LP1’, FKA Twigs returned to home soil for a two-night exclusive. Presenting what she entitled ‘Congreta’, a theatrical “coming together” of her craft [music and dance] that is “the story of my life while making this album” – as she put it.
Attending the first of the two shows, I was unsure of what to expect. I’ve listened to the album and I have my favourite songs but wasn’t entirely sure of how she would be live. It was my first time at Camden Roundhouse and seemed that everyone had shown up to be apart of her biggest headlining show to date.
Covered in darkness, the only thing lit were the fire exits, the album opener (Preface) began to play. The haunting hymn-like song was accompanied by men in white robes holding candles, still no sign of Twigs in sight; Preface ended with the last note bouncing off the walls and high ceilings like an empty church.
Appearing on stage for the second song ‘Hide’, Twigs had everyone fixated, from her next to nothing ensemble to her presence alone. Rolling through the set list, and giving us a few new songs to take away, the whole experience was eroticism at it’s finest. Only for an adult audience, Twigs knew exactly how to keep us engaged without her actual songs being overshadowed. Being the only female on stage, with eight male dancers, she still managed to dominate the set, telling a compelling story of unrequited love and heartbreak, we explored the dark corners of her mind as she reenacted and recreated some of the videos.
Standout performances were ‘Lights On’ which was performed in the dark, before the chorus kicked it and strobe lighting filled the venue. Personal favourite ‘Video Girl’ was performed in a red laser floor to ceiling cage, that seemed to be a metaphor for something, but I’m not sure what. ‘Papi Pacify’ highlighted and heightened both sensuality and sexuality as she and a dancer took centre on a rotating stage with flashing lights, and entwining bodies. They got up close and personal. My favourite performance of all though, had to be ‘Two Weeks’ where she created the floating cloth like illusion (a hidden floor fan). Softening the mood and adding more colour to the darkness around us.
To be quite honest visually there is too much to sit here and go through, between the violinists that played and the body contortions exhibited through interludes, Twigs sang, vogued, duck-walked back and forth across the stage. Overall it was dark and twisted, but seeing her laying her feelings bare through song, a sense of vulnerability, and empathy came into play. With her dancing background, shy is something she isn’t. Add a microphone and some lights into the mix and you have yourselves a performer.
If you haven’t already, listen to ‘LP1’ and also go to see her live. This surpassed my expectations not that they were high to begin with, but you get what I mean. I’d definitely go to see her again. Roll on ‘LP2’.