FKA twigs Delivers Unmatched Artistry and Respect at ‘Congregata’ in New York [EXCLUSIVE]
With her eclectic approach to songwriting and back-bending displays in videos, FKA twigs is a visual and sonic force to be reckoned with. Her artistry is profound yet mysterious onstage, all while treating her audience to an experience that is unmatched compared to many other singers on the scene. On Sunday night (May 17), the London native unveiled one of her biggest productions yet: "Congregata."
Set inside the Brooklyn Hangar in New York, Twigs' show was one of the hottest tickets during the Red Bull Music Academy Festival, taking place throughout the month of May. It was so popular that the intended two-night run turned into three consecutive shows to fulfill demand. And although she had only performed "Congregata" in London, fans (including myself) were very excited to see her vision was for the show, which was full of dancing. The show even brought out actress Dakota Fanning and her model boyfriend Jamie Strachan as well as Twigs' fiance, Robert Pattinson.
They show got off to a slow start, but the moment the lights dimmed, the dancers took their positions onstage. The energy in the room was brimming with anticipation. And the moment Twigs, born Tahliah Barnett, stepped onstage, cheers erupted and the wait was over. Unlike other shows where the set list seems like a priority, "Congregata" made you forget about whether or not she was singing every single song off of her LP1 album. Instead, eyes were fixated on the stage as the singer sang and danced seamlessly. If you were even a minute late, it felt like something was missed in the production.
Once the sounds of "Two Weeks" hit the air, Twigs brought out colorful, custom-made fabric to accompany her as she effortlessly danced with it on stage. No matter how many times the cloth switched hands and the fan-generated wind was in her face, the singer never missed a step or lyric. "Lights On" was also just one of the gems during "Congregata." Perhaps one of the sexier songs she performed was "Papi Pacify."
Not only did she showcase the song on a revolving platform, but Twigs and her partner got very hot and heavy with all their grabs and lifts. She was even thrown into the air a few times, which was amplified by a flash of white light that made her look angelic. However, things intensified on the erotic tip during "Video Girl."
During that track, Twigs changed into a cropped sequined vest and used it to reflect a row of red lasers and direct them into the audience. Surrounded by five other dancers, it felt a peep show in the Red Light District. Brighter lights arrived for "Glass & Patron," one of the new tracks off her upcoming EP, which is set to release later this year.
While she performed each song passionately, one of the night's highlights was witnessing her crew of dancers showcase what voguing is all about. To vogue is an art form, one that became a huge scene in the '80s and was then popularized a decade later by Madonna with her hit song "Vogue." This is no easy skill and when her crew hit the stage, the only word to describe them was fierce. They made precise arm movements, backward falls and body rolls look effortless. If you didn't want to go home and immediately start working on a routine, you were at the wrong show.
Like most theatrical productions, when the show was complete, Twigs came out to take a bow with her dancers in tow. But before she closed out her performance, she took a few moments to speak to the crowd about how important it was to perform "Congregata" for New York that night.
"Thank you so much to New York because I did my first show here," she said, reminiscing about her set at Santos Party Haus in Manhattan where she was still an unknown artist trying to make it. "Even then [during my first performance], you guys gave me something. And it was my show at Webster Hall. Were you all there at Webster Hall? That's where I realized I could do something different. So thank you so much."
The actual meaning of "Congregata" was not defined by FKA twigs, but the vibe in the air was a celebratory one. This was the singer's official introduction to her movement. If you witnessed her two recent shows in New York -- at Webster Hall and Terminal 5 -- this was the icing on her performance cake. She did make sure to explain who was onstage with her for the evening. Instead of just hiring a bunch of talented people or hyped up stars, twigs wanted to make sure that everyone who was a part of the show was someone she not only respected but also deeply cared about.
"I wanted to talk to you about the process of how I work," she explained. "I don't like to take things as an artist, and I don't believe in stealing things. I don't believe in not respecting where things come from. And I believe that everybody I work with is for a genuine reason and not because it's the coolest or hot thing at the moment. So I wanted to tell you that all the of the people in my show today, they are my friends. They are my London crew, from my stylist who's like my big sister to my choreographer who's my best friend."
After her speech, she let each of the dancers have their chance to shine and ended with the final bow. And for fans who hoped to catch a closer glimpse of her after the gig, she took some time to do autographs and photos at the merch table following the show. Now clearly, she's one class act.
FKA twigs performs two more "Congregata" shows as part of the Red Bull Music Academy Festival on May 18 and May 19. Check out more photos from her stellar set above.