Photo Credit: Misha Vladimirskiy, FilterlessCo
“The last time I was in San Francisco I played to a crowd about… this size,” quipped FKA twigs as she pointed to an area of the audience a tenth the size of the room-filling throng present for her San Francisco show on Thursday, Nov. 23. The entire experience must have been fantastical for the newly crowned queen of future R&B–the show already had to be moved from The Regency Ballroom to The Warfield due to overwhelming demand, and her previous SF date was barely a year ago.
FKA twigs (aka Tahliah Debrett Barnett) is certainly keeping up with her meteoric rise, though. Her seventy five-minute, sex-soaked set was not one of a musician trying to keep their talent in pace with their popularity; rather, it was a master class in performance. Her vocals were as good or better than her recordings; sounds I previously thought were part of the instrumentation were actually otherworldly utterances coming from her mouth and perfectly replicated live (this one, for example).
The entire venue billowed with smoldering fog–I joked with my friend that her delayed appearance onstage was her waiting for the room to be filled with smoke–and provided the perfect backdrop for her silhouetted choreography. Musical interludes were frequently inserted by the three-piece band while FKA demonstrated her unparalleled dancing abilities that fall somewhere between voguing, “leaning and rocking,” and walking like an Egyptian, honed from years as a backup dancer for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Jessie J, and Ed Sheeran.
Personal highlights were her regal performances of Papi Pacify, and LP1 album tracks Two Weeks and Give Up. The latter was a delicate dance between powerful backing synths and low, thuggish drops that would bring more excitement from the crowd at each occurrence. The sexual energy coming from the stage, fueled by her slinky productions, sinewy moves, and ethereal bedroom whispers, harkened back to the heyday of Janet Jackson, when “sex sold,” but not without monumental talent encasing the package.
Perhaps most remarkable, though, was the humility with which she spoke between songs. Sincere “thank you’s” were always on her lips as she demonstrated herself to be a left-field superstar truly grateful for her audience, almost unaware of how talented and beautiful her fans know she is. This moment was to be cherished by all those in attendance–by the time she comes back to the Bay for her next show, she could be bigger than many pop stars. With her ripe-and-ready take on R&B and constant press presence over her relationship with Robert Pattinson, FKA twigs’ tipping point is mere minutes away. I’m just grateful I could experience a small part of the journey upward.
See the remainder of FKA twigs’ tour dates here.