The artist formerly known as Twigs was one of the most talked about performers at Glastonbury on Sunday – and if anyone deserves the title of performer it’s her. Having left behind a career as a backing dancer to pursue her own musical destiny, Tahliah Barnett had more than enough talent to pull off one of the weekend’s most painstakingly choreographed shows. Watched by the likes of Jaime Winstone and Game of Thrones’ Alfie Allen, here are five factors which helped her wow the West Holts crowd:
1. The new material
It’s a ballsy move to open with a new song, but ‘Figure 8’ perfectly set up her set. An even newer song, called ‘In Time’ was premiered later – and ably demonstrated that FKA Twigs is just getting started.
2. Her stage presence
Wearing just a sequinned duster jacket, soon removed, and a shimmering bodice dress, FKA Twigs could have cut a slight figure – yet she was anything but, commanding the stage and holding the audience rapt.
3. Her dancing
As recorded on ‘Video Girl’, which she sings second, FKA Twigs used to make a living as a backing dancer for the likes of Jessie J. On Sunday night, her moves were hypnotic – particularly when locked into the machine gun drum beat that opened ‘Water Me’.
4. Her backing dancers
Credit too has to go to her team of male backing dancers, who took in turns to complement FKA Twigs’ performance – and ended closing song ‘How’s That’ by lifting and throwing her across the stage.
5. Proof she’s human after all
FKA Twigs doesn’t speak at all for most of the set – keeping her enigma firmly in place. However, after a stunning performance of ‘Glass & Patron’ she takes the mic to say a clearly heartfelt thanks: “Thank you so much Glastonbury. I just wanted to say thank so much for being here with me.” Her voice is almost breaking as she explains how happy she is to be able to share her music with the Glastonbury crowd. It’s a shock moment precisely because the rest of her show has been so otherworldly: you half expect her to be from Mars, not Gloucestershire.