On Tuesday, December 2nd, FKA Twigs performed maybe the most captivating show I’ve had the opportunity to cover during the 2014 year. Her live visual style was as impressive as I’ve seen in quite some time. FKA Twigs brought aesthetics in droves; from her 3-man band of pad-hitting instrumentalists to the thick fog of haze that overwhelmed the crowd to the blue-turning-pale hue that shrouded the young siren, the entire experience felt intentional. And, more important than their intentionality, FKA Twigs’ branded aesthetics worked to perfection.
I mention these live aesthetics first because they were central to the success of the more obvious appeal of the live show: the singer herself. From the moment she walked onto the stage until the final “thank you” from her mouth, FKA Twigs screamed attraction. Her outfit was that of a Cleopatra-turned-gypsy figure, and her dancing and singing were nothing short of sexy. But I wouldn’t say FKA Twigs’ performance was sexy in the cliched sense. She moved raw and artistically across the stage, evoking what felt like the truest form of human attraction from the audience. She didn’t need Beyonce’s flashy, million dollar rig or Katy Perry’s strip-tease-tendencies to hold every bated breath in the room. FKA Twigs felt more authentic; more real. And every face in the room was captivated.
Beyond her inescapable sex appeal, FKA Twigs offers something much bigger and more important. Her delivery and overall approach to her music feels very next-level. Too many people keep making the plain comparison between FKA Twigs and Aaliyah. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say “If Aaliyah were alive today, she would be doing exactly what FKA Twigs is doing.” I disagree. To me, FKA Twigs has so much more in common with Kate Bush than she does with Aaliyah. She’s so much more versatile than a single genre. The sounds she uses to create her songs are fresh; hell, they’re downright new in many cases. She fits the “performing artist” mold so much more than she does the “R&B singer” mold. We as music listeners like to compartmentalize artists based on our personal knowledge/tastes. But like it or not, FKA Twigs is in a category of her own. And it’s anything but a cliche. Simply put, FKA Twigs is a pioneer in an industry of settlers.
Be sure to check FKA Twigs’ touring schedule to see her in your city!
All photos by Nora Artinian (@norasaidso).