Live Review: FKA Twigs with BOOTS at Showbox at the Market 11/18/14

Live Reviews
11/25/2014
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Dave Lichterman

Before the Fallon performance, FKA Twigs was a pervasive mystery – a voice and an image spun together in perfect unity to create something entirely other worldly that you felt both drawn to and intimidated by. Maybe it was fear, or maybe it was just mystery, but either way, FKA Twigs was impossible to look away from. But since her American television debut, bringing the LP1 lead single "Two Weeks" to vibrant life through use of a haunting ribbon dance setup, FKA Twigs has become flat out addictive. Her mixture of sound and vision together embraces the modern context of pop music's technological forward edge unlike anything else on the scene. Naturally, whatever dates weren't already sold out did so very quickly afterwards, and every audience along Twigs' blitzkrieg path has only had one thing to say: "Holy shit". Joined on this leg of the tour by mysterious rock/R&B producer BOOTS, FKA Twigs truly outdid herself at Showbox at the Market on Tuesday night, giving a jaw dropping performance from beginning to end.BOOTS (Jordan Asher) is one evasive dude. His name exploded at the end of last year when he popped up all over the production credits for Beyoncé's out of nowhere self-titled masterpiece. Soon after, he started leaking singles leading up to a generous mixtape in the form of WinterSpringSummerFall, which showed off Asher's unique style in full form, while mixing in everyone from Beyoncé to Shlohmo. Since then, the mixtape has disappeared from Soundcloud and been replaced by new, edgy rock tune "I Run Roulette" (there's also one other single "Mercy" available on iTunes) and he also popped up on the new Run the Jewels record and played with them on Letterman. The guy is all over the place, and definitely still zeroing in on exactly who he wants to present himself to be on his own apart from production association. But in the meantime, he's put together a pretty great live show in the form of what we saw tonight. Decked out in all black with no forward lighting whatsoever, the band were silhouettes on stage, playing guitar heavy rock-leaning R&B for a down to business thirty minute set with no breaks. To end, BOOTS literally dropped his guitar on the stage and exited through the crowd, no questions answered, no bow, no anything. At this point of gestation in BOOTS' so far totally bizarre and intriguing career, I don't think he'd have it any other way.

BOOTS:

BOOTS

BOOTS

BOOTS

For her first two EPs, every track FKA Twigs dropped came with a visual – not just an abstract to accompany the track with some Getty image stock footage introspection, but a full visual, featuring Twigs, that in some way captures her full intention for the piece. It makes her records both a continuous and disjunct experience. You can choose to digest each with the accompanying visual aide, or you can let each audio track blend in with the next for a single sonic wave of captivity. It would be stupid to assume that Twigs' live show would be any different, but then again, having less of a well defined expectation made the experience all the more enthralling.

For the first few songs of the set, there was a moment of confusion in the crowd. As the throngs heaved forward, there was a feeling of desire amongst the crowd to turn this into a by-the-book pop show: the incredible, beautiful singer comes out and waves to the crowd, wearing an exquisite dress, singing and dancing to and fro on the stage and reaching out to touch the hands of the front row, who all gasp and sigh in overwhelming excitement. There was maybe a song or two of this – all of LP1's "Preface" and EP1 classic "Ache" – but then the crowd realized something: this isn't a pop show. With the floors decked out in reflective material and Twigs writhing about on stage like a woman possessed, this show wasn't changing the mode of communication that has worked for Twigs thus far at all. When you listen to FKA Twigs, you get audio, you get a visual, and you make the rest up for yourself. In that, the live experience of FKA Twigs is an intentionally rapturous endeavor.

With the exception of undeniable fan favorites (EP2's "Papi Pacify" and "Two Weeks" and "Video Girl" from the new record), the crowd soon learned how to make their Twigs experience optimal. The Showbox turned into more of a cabaret performance, where the crowd held their breath as Twigs performed audiovisual wonders without a single care for the audience's reaction. Every track felt like a mountain to overcome and every fade out was a collective exhale followed by earsplitting applause. Magic is the only explanation with FKA Twigs – what was witnessed is impossible to explain in words. Yes, we can connect with Twigs' songs and lyrics. Yes, we can be dazzled by her incredible dancing and general sense of otherworldliness. But there is another dimension that is tapped into that isn't very easy to explain – a carnal mixture of emotions and physical incarnation that few artists have the supernatural ability to muster. FKA Twigs is truly an incredible performer, and should not be taken lightly. You will come away affected by the one who started as the video girl, and from that point on, she will be everything but.

FKA Twigs:

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

FKA Twigs

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