Have you ever been to a concert before that seemed more a narrative play vs. your ordinary pop show? Well if you say no, we will suggest you to turn your attention to FKA Twigs. This young lady totally stunned me with her entire show, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Wednesday evening the weather was pretty much perfect for an outside, waterfront concert at Pier Six Pavilion in downtown Baltimore, so I had no complaints before arriving to the venue, but that couldn’t be said about a good chunk of concert goers once they arrived.
Originally this show was supposed to have been a joint headline show with Twigs and rapper Travis Scott, who most recently was seen touring with his girl Rihanna on her North American ANTI Tour and had a hit with his song ‘Antidote‘, which I initially thought was going to bring in a lot of the ticket sales. Much to my, and everyone else’s surprise, there was a note hanging at the window of the box office and on structures around the venue apologizing because Scott would NOT be performing at the show tonight, and if you came to see him only, refunds would be given out at the point of purchase.
NO exact reason was given as to why the rapper wasn’t in attendance, and that had many fans wondering, and might I say pissed. There was a resounding amounts of “ooh man”, “wtf”, and “omg, I drove 2 hours to see him and he’s not going to be here” while standing around waiting to go inside. People began This certainly wasn’t a good look for Travis Scott and his track record for Baltimore, because not too long ago he also cancelled another show last-minute at Morgan State University that he was on the bill for. While doing a quick search online, there were reports of him being in New York City and partying the same time as his scheduled show in Charm City. If you want to retain a fan base in a major city, this CERTAINLY isn’t the way to do it.
I saw quite a few people who decided to turn around and leave since they apparently weren’t there for Twigs, but granted your fave may not be on stage, don’t miss out on a performance that may be as, if not more, riveting.
Two of Baltimore’s own served as the opening acts for this now single artist show. If no one had heard of Blaqstarr or Rye Rye, you were about to be introduced, but if you are from the area you SHOULD have heard of the former.
Blaqstarr is a Baltimore Club Music producer, turned rapper, who is infamous for creating some of the hottest tracks from the local grown genre but moved on to working with M.I.A and producing for other artist, now he’s out on his own. He moved through a set of his own songs, which were a fusion of futuristic electronica sounds and Baltimore Club Music.
Next up was Rye Rye, an artist that Blaqstarr helped put on the music scene. I was previously familiar with Rye because I came from and existed during the entire Bmore Club Music era, so her music immediately spoke to me. Accompanied by a single dancer who exuded the “rock off” style of dance, unexpectedly she didn’t blaze the stage as much as I thought she would. Seeing her perform back in the day, she was an amazing dancer that was full of energy and made you FEEL the performance…but I didn’t get that from her this time. Saying that isn’t to take away from her show at all, because she still gave a crowd engaging performance which lasted around 20 minutes. At times, she even had the audience up out of their seats in the aisles dancing. The show came to an end with her most famous song, “Shake It To the Ground“, which is a direct ode to the Baltimore music scene.
Now it’s a little after 9 PM, the sun was making its final descent for the event, but that’s ok, because FKA Twigs was coming to heat the stage. This was my first time ever seeing her in concert, so I was quite intrigued to see what type of show she would give.
From the evening before, I already had a glimpse into the kind of person that she was when she offered a free dance workshop in Baltimore City for aspiring dancers. Many times when an artist gives similar workshops, they send their “B” choreographers to run it, but not Twigs…not only did she “sponsor” the workshop, she was physically there on the floor, giving instruction and providing words of encouragement to all in attendance. It takes a special type of artist to show their humility and personally give back to the community, especially during these times that we live in today, so I was glad to witness this first hand. Specially selected dancers would be given the opportunity to rock the stage with her at her concert as well, AND everyone who even took the time to go to the workshop was given two free tickets to the show!
Even from the start of the show, I got the vibe that this would be extremely different from MANY of the shows that I’ve had the chance to personally witness in the most recent past. It started off with an actual story-line involving Twigs, dressed in tribal clothes, walking out with a sacred crystal, then later being joined by one of her male dancers for a solo dance scene. Actually everything was tribal, from the makeup, to the costuming, to even some of the music segues. So much of the imagery reminded me of a cross between Avatar: The Last Airbender and Cirque du Soleil’s KA…it was REALLY THAT good! If you have no idea what either of those shows are, please Google or YouTube them, you’ll thank me later. I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to just see all of what was happening in front of me on stage. Today’s world of pop shows is usually stripped down to an artist giving you a basic performance with not much else to look at, and if they do, then it’s to distract you from their talent, or lack there of.
Everything seemed so different, in a good way. I would honestly say she’s the Björk, THAT’s the type of different that I’m referring to. We already talked about the vibe, but let’s get into the performance itself. She’s obviously watched some of the greats when it comes to live performance, because her show included vocals, good music, pure stage presence and high-octane choreography. The music was unique, yet edgy, the choreography was intricate, yet extremely effective and stylized and her lyrical content invoked raw emotions and feeling. As she continued on, I constantly felt myself being pulled in even more.
There were three new songs which were performed that made the crowd go nuts. One of which was rehearsed the previous night in her dance workshop, so I already knew from the song and routine snippet that she was going to rock it, and indeed she did.
The highlight of the show for many was when the dancers from the workshop were brought on stage. They performed a choreographed piece before vibing out to a freestyle section. She actually stopped them twice while they were dancing to get them together so that they could perform as a collective unit.
This Radiant Me² show was absolutely something to behold, and I hope that FKA Twigs realizes her own dopeness. Right now she’s the type of artist that some people like to put into a box over in the corner because they don’t understand her, but if they had the chance to see what I saw Wednesday night at her ONLY headlining show of 2016, they would quickly light that box on fire and let her run wild in their minds and on their playlist because she’s really that good.