TVD Live: FKA twigs at the Riviera Theatre, 11/15

WORDS AND IMAGES: JULIA SIMONE PAUL | The line for FKA twigs’ MAGDALENE tour at the Riviera Theatre wrapped around the building before doors even opened on Friday night. Her devout fans wanted to ensure they didn’t miss a moment of the magical experience that is a FKA twigs show. Don’t make the newbie mistake of thinking she puts on your typical singer-dancer concert. Yes, she does both sing and dance during the show—but they’re really just a few of the tools she has at her disposal to guide the audience emotionally.

This emotional shepherding began before the show even started. Ambient, pulsing music was playing as fans filled the theatre. It slowly swelled in volume as showtime came nearer, building up the anticipation. A large black curtain hid the stage from view, and as the music seemed to be reaching its apex and the house lights went dark, I expected the fabric to sweep away to dramatically reveal twigs.

Instead, she simply stepped through the middle of the curtain onto the few feet of visible stage. Clothed in a black and white outfit that looked inspired by Elizabethan era fashion (and a pair of tiny sunglasses), she had only a few white lights shining at her from either side of the stage. Twigs began a tap dance, accented with a simple music track that embellished the complex rhythms she was playing with her feet.

While this was much less elaborate entrance than I had predicted, it soon became clear that it was intentional. Just as with the music preceding the show, she was gradually building the excitement in the room. When finished with her tap dance, the white side lights began pulsing, and the music became richer. Finally, she began to sing. Her ethereal slow-jam, “Hide,” was the perfect bridge to the more upbeat numbers that followed.

In the next phase of FKA twigs’ performance, the curtain finally opened and the first of many outfit changes was unveiled. The change in dance was also apparent, seamlessly flowing between contemporary dance and hip-hop. Four dancers eventually joined the stage for some impressive choreography in a similar style.

Throughout the night, twigs continued to captivate. She looked and sounded as if carrying such a physically and emotionally demanding show was effortless for her. The height of that dichotomy was during “Lights On,” where twigs’ danced on a two-story pole with unbelievable elegance.

After the peak of her otherworldly grace, she brought herself back to earth before her last song of the evening. She asked if anyone there had experienced heartbreak. The emphatic affirmative response from the crowd prompted a soft “me too” from the singer. A respectful hush settled over the room once she began singing “Cellophane,” her tender lead single from her new album. It was especially evident during a long silent pause in the song—no one in the sold-out room dared make a noise until the very end. Then, they erupted in a roaring standing ovation.

FKA Twigs second album, MAGDALENE, was released on November 8th, 2019. Her tour continues through North America and Europe, more information is on fkatwi.gs/

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