Hot off her stellar U.S. network TV debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and a slew of sold-out dates on the east coast, FKA twigs rolled into town for her sold-out show at the Commodore Ballroom Monday evening and it was definitely a show that many were anticipating. Twigs, whose real name is Tahliah Barnett, released her debut album, LP1, to critical acclaim earlier this year and it has really only been uphill ever since. Her album was nominated for the Mercury Prize and I am sure that it will top a number of “Best Of” lists next month.
After a performance by Boots, the mystery producer on Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise album from last year, the Commodore was packed and buzzing with anticipation. Shortly after 10:40 pm, the lights dimmed and a buzzing synth sound was heard, signaling the start of Twigs’ set. The sounds of “Preface” then echoed throughout the venue, and Twigs and her three band members soon took to the stage.
The stage was set up to give Twigs ample space around which she could dance and show off those killer moves of hers. Her band members were placed on three sides of the stage, each commanding different instruments including samplers, synths, a guitar, a bass, and an electronic drum kit.
With a silver choker encasing her neck and dressed in a silk top, bejewelled bra, distressed jeans, and four-inch stilettos, Twigs slunk around the stage effortlessly. The lithe London-based singer trained as a dancer for numerous years during her youth and this is evident in her dancing. She moved about the stage in a sensuous manner with rhythmic arm movements and languid hip sways—erratic and yet, controlled at the same time. It was almost a bit too restrained for my liking, having seen performances where Twigs really let go and commanded the stage. This is not to say that she did not have a commanding stage presence, but she seemed more restrained than usual.
About halfway through her set, the 26-year old singer finally greeted the eager Vancouver audience. “Thank you for coming to see me tonight,” she said quietly before stating that she had not been to Vancouver before. She thanked her fans once more before starting “Numbers”. This was followed by a spot-on performance of “Hide”, the closing track of EP1. Vocally, it was her strongest performance of the evening and it showed off a power in her voice that is not really evident in the majority of her tracks, as she mainly sings with an airy, ethereal quality.
The crowd was very enthusiastic and not too long after Twigs started “Kicks”, she told her band that they needed to stop. “Everyone’s talking to much,” announced Twigs. A number of shh’s emerged from the audience members in the crowd, urging everyone to quiet down so that the song could be started again.
After a bass-heavy performance of her hit song, “Two Weeks”, the British songstress told her Vancouver fans that they had been “the best so far” and that she and her band will definitely come back. Twigs ended her set in a more subdued way with “How’s That”, which contrasted the high-energy performance of the previous song. She gyrated slowly around centre stage as the lights dimmed and smoke encircled her. With only a wave and smile to the audience, she glided off stage and back to the ethereal planet of goddesses she came from. Well, that may not be entirely true, but what is true is that Ms. Barnett is most definitely an extraordinarily talented woman.