Electricity & Lust

Review: Bat For Lashes @ The Koko, Camden

Posted in Live, Sam by Sam Unsted on October 30, 2007

bat-for-lashes.jpg

Ethereal was the word for this pre-Halloween show from Natasha Khan or should I say, the Mercury-nominated Natasha Khan/Bat For Lashes. The double edged sword of course of such a nomination is that the make up of your audience shifts. Folks, especially within sections of fashion-conscious London, will now come to see the gig simply to say they saw the gig. It makes for a curious atmosphere where a portion of the audience, generally the stiff ones who talk loud at the start then don’t make a peep during the gig, don’t really know what they’re watching.

We missed the support I’m afraid but the show made up for it in part. If anything, it was expectation that weighed the young lady down. Her record, the breathless Fur & Gold, is a party of eccentric, ethereal pop somewhere in the space between Kate Bush, Bjork and Cat Power. It’s filled with moments of inspiration and beauty and tonight is too. The highlights are utterly wonderful. The reworking of ‘Sarah’ is a stomping highpoint, typified by her lilting but powerful voice (another Chan Marshall trait) and her cover of ‘Lonely’ by Tom Waits captures all the, well, loneliness of the original while placing the song within a ghostlier space. It’s probably the closest thing we get to a moment of Halloween-iness all night – a haunting torch song sung to a hushed room.

In the end though, this is a young lady honing her stage craft and its shows. In some respects, the qualities which make her so likeable – unknowing prettiness, deeply English shyness – hurt her on stage. She’s watchable enough but only occasionally does she just demand your attention. Having said that though, the heap of potential shown here gives a strong hope that, following her second or maybe third excellent record, she’ll be a live force to be reckoned with.

Bat For Lashes official

Bat For Lashes MySpace

Video of ‘Prescilla’

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