FKA Twigs Enchants at The Showbox

FKA Twigs at The Showbox (Photo by Hanna Stevens)

FKA Twigs at The Showbox (Photo by Hanna Stevens)

A sold-out crowd at The Showbox was treated to a night of moody, experimental and visually stunning performances by FKA Twigs. The British singer (born Tahliah Barnett) has released only two EPs and one full-length album, but she used her hour-long set well to mesmerize the crowd.

After a long, droning electronic introduction with an empty stage bathed in blue light, she and her three-piece band of electronic instrumentalists entered to an ethereal vocal chant, which set the tone for the show. Her high soprano voice is unexpected set against the electronic music, and makes her atmospheric R&B all the more unique.

For much of the show, FKA Twigs was hidden in shadow, the lighting spare. When she did step into the light, it made it all the more effective, almost startling to see her face appear. Aside from the lighting, the visual aspects of the show consisted of her graceful, serpentine dance moves – unsurprising from a former backup dancer. She was the only thing to watch on stage, but it worked, because it was difficult to take one’s eyes off her.

Her lyrics play with dark sexuality, and combined with the sound and visuals, the music is both eerie and sensuous. The songs can start to sound a little too similar after a while, so “Papi Pacify,” with its discordant keyboards, was a welcome shift. But for setting a mood, she did that spectacularly well, and it will be interesting to see if she experiments with different sounds on future work.

Opening singer/producer Boots (known for his recent work with Beyonce) had a dark electronic sound as well, but with unmemorable melodies and a heavier touch, his set was not nearly as successful.

Alicia is a Midwest transplant who loves Seattle but misses thunderstorms. Her musical obsessions began when her coolest aunt gave her a copy of K-Tel’s Rock 80 album for Christmas when she was 7. She spent many years studying piano and voice, but the force of rock and roll won, so while she still sings in a local chorale, her true musical passions lie more with The Beatles than with Beethoven. When she’s not working at her job in HR, she can be found singing bad pop songs at the top of her lungs … although sometimes she does that