Bat For Lashes by Sam Parr
Escaping from the chilly evening air of Kentish Town (and making my way past a somewhat disconcerting poster advertising the Polyphonic Spree singing tunes from the Rocky Horror Show), I could see that the Forum was already pretty packed. Any prospect of getting a decent spot fairly close to the stage looked a lost cause, so I settled on a vantage point handily situated by one of the bars. Beneath the art deco Roman standards high on the walls, I could see the stage dressed as what appeared to be a wild cliff-top, dotted with lanterns, which for some reason reminded me of the set of a 1950s Hammer film.
Bat For Lashes by Daisy Hardman
The lights dimmed and, as the air of expectation turned to a tide of cheers from the audience, Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan, in a black and white backless gown) emerged from the wings. As the band took their places amongst the “crags”, they launched into Lilies, the opening track from the new album, The Haunted Man, with Khan alternating between soaring vocals and strikes of a drum pad at her side. We then got an early blast from the past with an ominous sounding What’s A Girl To Do, from debut album Fur And Gold. Interestingly, this first part of the set was made up of old material, as we also got Glass and Travelling Woman from 2009’s Two Suns (with Khan at the piano for the latter).
Bat For Lashes by Geiko Louve
I’d seen Bat For Lashes a couple of years ago at the Roundhouse, just down the road, and tonight’s performance seemed less theatrical, with Khan being surprisingly engaging (lots of smiles and shout outs to the audience, and a mention that some of her family were there, as they were for last night’s show). As a performer, Khan is anything but static, and when she’s not at the piano or the autoharp (as she was for Prescilla) she’s gliding and swooping about the stage.
Bat For Lashes by Gareth A Hopkins
The middle part of the set concentrated on tracks from The Haunted Man, which as an album has a bit more of a contemporary, synthy sound than its predecessors, though it retains Khan’s beguiling and slightly unsettling lyrics. Songs like Oh Yeah and the single All Your Gold led into the haunting Laura, which held those in the Forum’s venerable old auditorium rapt. The pace picked up again with Rest Your Head, A Wall and, from Two Suns, Pearl’s Dream. For the encore, the band returned for the new album’s title track, The Haunted Man, with Khan hoisting aloft an old fashioned radio set, before closing the night with fan favourite Daniel.
Bat For Lashes now head on to engagements around Europe and a tour of the Antipodes, and with The Haunted Man receiving a positive critical press, maybe next year Natasha Khan will make it third time lucky with that Mercury Prize.
Bat for Lashes, Daisy Hardman, Gareth A Hopkins, Geiko Louve, Hammer Films, HMV Forum, Kentish Town, Mercury Prize, Natasha Khan, Polyphonic Spree, Rocky Horror Show, Roundhouse, Sam Parr, The Haunted Man
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