It was forty-five minutes after the show was supposed to begin, and the audience inside of the muggy and hazy Brooklyn warehouse was getting restless. Mist circulated in blue light as the stage remained in darkness. The audience fanned themselves and pressed water to their foreheads as the wait dragged on. When FKA twigs finally took the stage to perform her long-gestating show “Congregata,” things only got hotter.
The 27-year-old British singer/dancer/choreographer, who has drawn comparisons to Bjork for her mixing of the pop and art worlds, performed nearly two hours of sex-drenched electronic ballads while being backed up by a chorus line of male dancers. Born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, twigs took turns singing, being carried, gyrating, dropping to the floor, and crawling over her backup dancers, all while demonstrating that her spare and uncompromising songs can not only work in a concert setting, but can be the soundtrack of one of the sexiest experiences you'll ever have. Furnished by the Red Bull Music Academy, the former backup dancer performed in costumes designed by Alexander McQueen and controlled a sparse, but carefully coordinated space that featured lasers, a rotating platform, and a raised section for her band.
Playing with darkness and intense moments of light in the cavernous warehouse, FKA performed her hit "Lights On," forming a compact with the audience, softly murmuring:
When I trust you we can do it with the lights on
When I trust you we'll make love until the morning
Let me tell you all my secrets and I'll whisper 'til the day's done
By the end of the performance, when FKA twigs finally broke character and spoke candidly with the audience, she was introducing her dancers to an enthusiastic and sweaty crowd, the initial wait all but a memory. Besides, half of pleasure is in the anticipation. And FKA twigs certainly delivered on the other.
Photos by Drew Gurian / Red Bull Content Pool