FKA Twigs, The Roundhouse, gig review: Edgy and erotic set is absolutely jaw-dropping

The artist's dark and unnerving style is a tremendous backdrop to her live performance

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The Independent Culture

It's very rare to witness a show that completely blows you away but tonight's performance left me utterly shell-shocked. What FKA Twigs produced at the Roundhouse will stay with me for a long time.

If you've seen the twisted disturbing videos that accompany her tunes you may have an inkling of what I'm talking about. Live she transformed those dark, twisted snippets of celluloid into two hours of pure theatre. This wasn't just a gig, more an immersive dance experience, a sensual head f*** accompanied by subsonic bass, staccato beats and Twigs' ethereal, sex-laden vocals that left us reeling.

Before she even gets on stage there's a feeling of faint unease around the venue. The lights dim and the sell-out crowd are strangely silent. And then, to the left of the stage, a violinist appears from the gloom. It's a feature of the evening; your eyes straining to take in the visual feast in the half light, the stage never fully lit up. Instead stark spots and retina searing bursts of colour punctuate the performance.

FKA Twigs

We can just about make out Twigs centre stage, encircled by dancers holding aloft candles; devoted acolytes paying respect to their high priestess as the opening bars of "Preface" echo around the venue. It's jaw dropping stuff. In the background barely discernible are three musicians behind keyboards and drums, I’m sure I caught a glimpse of a bass player up there too. But it’s Twigs and her stunningly choreographed dancers who our eyes remain glued to.

By the time fourth track "Lights On" machine guns into life with its bass-heavy sonic assault we are all rapt converts to her cause.

The sell-out crowd are treated to almost two hours of what Twigs herself describes at the end of the show as a 'coming together' – and incredibly ' the story of my life'.

Each song- and at times it's difficult to ascertain which one as they effortlessly merge into one another - is brought to life by a troop of hand-picked, seemingly double-jointed male dancers who pop, vogue, writhe and contort to the beat.

FKA Twigs

Twigs veers from dominant to submissive throughout the show, straddling one of her dancers like some sexually charged acrobat at one point before being stalked around the stage by them en masse. She wears a black leather body and high laced boots which one of her dancers cuts off during "Closer". It’s disturbing, edgy and erotic all in the same breath.

And that voice? As stunning live as on CD; soaring then breathless, powerful and then whisper-soft sensual.

Among the many highlights was "Video Girl" where Twigs performed inside a cage made up of red lazers, her dancers surrounding the cage and then reaching in to her pluck her out, before she deftly escaped their clutches. The show ended with Two Weeks, Twigs centre stage dancing with a gossamer red scarf billowing around her, the sex-sodden vocals sending shivers up your spine.

And then that was it. She ended with a “Hello London”, the first time she acknowledged the crowd – Twigs’ voice at odds and strangely human after the other worldy two hours we’d just witnessed. Absolutely stunning.