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FKA Twigs' Magdalene Live Show Stuns at Brooklyn's King's Theatre

FKA Twigs
@aalisub / Ahad Subzwari 

FKA Twigs at King’s Theatre in Brooklyn on November 20, 2019. 

It took a full hour for FKA Twigs to address the audience at Brooklyn’s King’s Theatre, and even that was a brief “Hi, thank you, has anyone ever had their heart broken?” After that, we simply got a “Thank you, New York” at the end of the show, as she bowed with her dancers and her band.

Because Magdalene is not a concert, per se -- a barrage of greatest hits with quippy banter interspersed -- Magdalene is a show, a performance in a gorgeous historic theater that demanded silence from her fans to allow for dramatic breaks, and one that felt outside the scope of the indie touring circuit, combining several styles of dance and intricate staging with gorgeous pop, R&B and electronic music.

Magdalene is named after Twigs’ album of the same name, a record that was released two weeks ago to universal acclaim. The record explores the pits of her loneliness following the demise of a relationship and focuses on self-discovery (or re-discovery). The live show followed suit, not only in her question to the audience, but in the choreography, lighting, staging and Twigs’ generally mystifying presence and performance.

Twigs spent the first half-hour of the show onstage by herself, recapping some of her earlier singles, like “Pendulum” and “Water Me,” before being joined by four dancers for “Figure 8” and “Video Girl.” It was seven songs in that she launched into the songs from Magdalene, connecting even more with the material than on the tracks from LP1, EP2 and M3LL155X.

At times, she wasn’t the artist, but part of the art. Twigs opened the performance with “Tap Dance,” using her feet as an instrument, and later, sang while completely still and inches away from attendees in the front of the theater, like a statue on display.

While her singing brought all the intensity necessary to the introspective tracks on Magdalene, even the slower songs came to life when matched with the element of dance. The sparse electronic blips on record became a backbone for full-on hip-hop and jazz choreography. And of course, on “Lights On,” Twigs took to the pole, performing a stunning routine reminiscent of the “Cellophane” music video earlier this year.

Ultimately, the night’s biggest moment came during the final song, the aforementioned “Cellophane,” which also caps the nine-track Magdalene. Free of any staging or choreography, she stood alone and sang, from whisper to yell. After a few seconds of absolute silence in the middle of the song, she nearly lost control on a gasp of “And didn’t I do it for you?” At its most basic, it was a dramatic wink at the audience, knowing full well that she "did it" for us. But in the context of Magdalene, Magdalene and “Cellophane,” it was a breathless existential nag at her heartbreak, exorcising a demon to come out the other side.

Set List

Tap Dance
Hide
Water Me
Pendulum
Figure 8
Video Girl
thousand eyes
mary magdalene
home with you
sad day
fallen alien
Fukk Sleep
holy terrain
daybed
mirrored heart
Papi Pacify
Lights On
Two Weeks
cellophane


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