Bat For Lashes
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- Bat For Lashes »
It's so nearly the entrance nightmares are made of: on her way up the stairs leading to the Memorial Hall's circular stage, Natasha Khan (you may also know her as Bat For Lashes) stumbles but manages to retain her balance, and thus avoids the most embarrassing of falls. It is, however, the only foot she puts wrong tonight; the rest is close to perfect.
These salubrious surroundings fit the music in question like a glove, adding to the beguiling effect of this set. Spacious yet atmospheric, the sound leaps from the various sets of wall-mounted speakers, whirls around the room and takes up residence deep inside our bodies. Intoxicating isn't the word, and after a heavy weekend DiS isn't even drinking.
Khan is, though, and her poison of choice is brandy - but only, she insists, to cure a sore throat. We'll have to try that one... both the excuse, and the solution. Still, with a voice as rich as hers it's difficult for anyone to really notice if she's struggling. Even for 'Sad Eyes', pretty much a solo number, the notes are all hit as she pulls at our heart strings with another tale of heartbreak.
It's fair to say many of the songs that comprise her wonderful debut Fur & Gold concern the oft-visited topic of love, but few songwriters have the ability to communicate the subject on such a cerebral, ethereal level as Khan. With the audience hushed throughout, it's an all-too-rare opportunity to let the music transport you to another place.
Assisted superbly by her band - Ginger Lee, Abi Fry and Lizzie Carey deserve every last clap of the ovation they receive - the live treatments of these songs are every bit as stunning as their recorded counterparts. Two and three part harmonies, heavily distorted guitar and twin violins combine to produce a sound that strikes joy, sadness and even fear into our hearts - often within the same song.
The latter emotion is evoked particularly on 'Sarah', with Khan almost beating a hole into the ground with her pole as the four musicians chant the refrain. It's an altogether different arrangement to the album version, but perhaps trumps it for spine-tingling immediacy - a highlight, then, in a set full of them. Truly a one-off talent, and in a venue so perfectly suited to her music - it's a shame that gigs like this are all too few.
Watch Bat For Lashes' new video, for _'Prescilla', here_
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