June 9, 2019
Full disclosure, up to tonight I had not been exposed to the microcosm that is FKA Twigs – a circumstance I quite enjoy when it comes to exploring and experiencing artists and one that is rarer to come by in this digital age where information is at your fingertips.
The venue could not have been chosen better, with Carriageworks reinventing itself and upping its game consistently and specifically for the annual ViVid Festival having refined the art of hosting events that is reminiscent of what has become the trademark of MONA’s Dark Mofo Festival. Tonight’s dimly-lit cavernous set-up magnified the performance manifold by serving as a giant canvas for what was to unfold.
From a distance, FKA Twigs evoked the impression to be an underground art pop phenomenon that seemed to be a hybrid of the more accessible components of Bjoerk and Sigur Rós paired with a dazzling display of ballet and dance.
However, what materialized on stage proved to be an audio-visual assault that went beyond the realm of what one would conventionally expect from a show of a singer. Tahliah Barnett is an artist that channels a myriad of influences into an idiosyncratic alchemy of her own.
It is delightful how FKA Twigs in a live environment defies categorization as her interdisciplinary show is abstract yet engaging, attention-grabbing yet subtle, atmospheric and ethereal.
Musically and specifically when it comes to the vocal delivery, one cannot ignore the nods to “Wuthering Heights”-era Kate Bush, however, a more fragile, tremulous, multi-tracked, polyphonic and sorrowful variant. While this could lose its appeal after a while, the fact that the very physically oblique and highly stylized show mixes a myriad of costume changes, otherworldly digitally menacing club vibes and effortlessly formidably performed intricate dance performances, which add layers of depth and dramatic reveals.
An ambitious, high pitched, effects laden and meticulously tour de force that lays bare raw emotions and with FKW Twigs’ poise and prowess, managed to hold the audience in its thrall for the whole duration of this challenging performance.
photo courtesy of artist website