FKA twigs is a queen. She commanded the room with poise and strength, not dissimilar to the way a beloved royal addresses her subjects. Her tantric movements were met with silence and awe, and her gaze extended far beyond the dank walls of 170 Russell.
Cat and I secured a spot in the crowd early. Gigs always bring forth an eclectic mix of people. The first of which was Libby.
“Hey! I’m Libby! I’m already smashed haha!” the platinum blonde shouted.
“Hi, I’m Arianna.”
She was tall and dressed in a slinky black maxi. Swaying violently to the lo-fo filler music with her smiley friend Joe, she pushed past me to introduce herself to Cat.
“What’s your name?”
“…Sky?” she said pointing upwards.
Yeah, Sky also works.
Cat and I shuffled sideways. Small talk with Libby did not seem ideal. Nor were the forty minutes that followed that encounter—a lengthy and mind-altering introduction to the main event. Deep, heavy bass blared through the speakers, and the lights kept getting darker and lighter again. We were restless and unaware of how much time had passed. How long have I been standing here for? What air am I breathing right now? What even is gravity?
I get what they were doing. The audience had been lulled into a hypnotic, languid state. My spatial awareness had been completely thrown off. They were “setting the scene”.
FKA twigs finally entered the stage with a seriousness that scared me. She closed her eyes, tilted her head back, and opened her mouth. Her voice pierced the air with a range that left the crowd stupefied.
She played the part of a sexually empowered goddess, twisting and contorting her body into all sorts of shapes, channelling power, fragility, and wrath.
“What a sick bitch!” a woman in the audience declared. “You’re fucking brilliant!”
It wasn’t until halfway through her set that she broke character. The eerie FKA twigs was put on pause. There stood a timid child from Gloucestershire, who introduced her band and politely thanked us for our support.
It was a small glimpse into Tahliah Debrett Barnett—a petite 27-year-old with a talent for transformation. Her body language was no longer open and strong. She held herself tightly as her face softened into a humble smile.
Playing tracks from EP1, EP2, and the critically acclaimed LP1, FKA twigs’ music is sexually explicit. It’s emotional, lustful, and all-encompassing. “Two Weeks” was an exhilarating display, and her air-hump while she hissed “I can fuck you better than her,” was unsurprisingly all class.
She played a song I didn’t recognise, later identified as “Figure 8”, a new track rumoured to feature on her EP3 release (whaaaaa).
FKA twigs’ performance was too extraordinary for the intimate crowd, the small venue, and the measly $50-something ticket. Consider yourself very lucky if you’re catching this queen reign over Laneway.
Ciao ciao, Arianna