FKA Twigs Dazzles New York on First U.S. Tour

Matthew Ismael Ruiz

The tastemakers' darling announced she'll be working on her debut record following her return to England.

FKA twigs is finally ready for the stage. Last night the R&B experimentalist emerged from her lair of mystery to mesmerize a small audience at a converted West Village strip club. It was a night of nervous starts, uncharted territory and warped, cavernous R&B songs with more dance moves than discernible lyrics. But when it was over, the newcomer had reached the end of her first North American tour with burgeoning confidence.

FKA twigs -- real name Tahliah Barnett -- is a country girl from southwest England whose creative vision continues to push her far from home. It was London at first; Now two tastemaking EPs into her brief career, the Young Turks-signed singer – and well-trained dancer – couldn't escape the pull of the American spotlight. Last night's nine-song performance at Manhattan's Westway capped twigs' four-date test run on the unfamiliar side of the Atlantic.

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The previous night, twigs played Brooklyn's Glasslands Gallery, enveloped in smoke so thick and lights so dim that at one point, one of her backing musicians complained he couldn't see his drum pads. Last night, the air was more clear, though the venue provided its own sharp left turns from normalcy.

Watch FKA twigs perform a new song at Glasslands:

Westway is blocks from the busy business district of the West Village, though tucked away, just off the beaten path, amongst warehouses adjacent to the Hudson River. Inside the dingy space, an elevated platform (this used to be s strip club, after all) dominates the center of the crowd, making it difficult for most spectators to follow twigs' dance displays from right to left of the stage.  Still, her figure never completely disappeared; Behind her, a distorted shadow was captured on a blank screen, like an oversized projector.

Twigs' vocal performance kept her spirit in the forefront, too. The whisper-singing of set opener "Weak Spot" provided a minimal opening, which blossomed into the gorgeous "Water Me" by the set's midpoint. It earned her her most rousing round of applause until "Papi Pacify" as the next-to-last song. As confidence grew and her vocals flourished up to the upper registers, FKA twigs ended the set with a fleeting triumph. She blessed concert-goers with three new songs. Her similarly brief tour had just ended, but rest assured, the next stage of the buzz cycle is coming: "I"m going home tomorrow to work on a record," she proclaimed.

Matthew Ismael Ruiz

Here is the set list from last night's show:

Weak Spot
Untitled new song
Water Me
Untitled new song
Untitled new song
Papi Pacify
How's That