Bat For Lashes: Live Last Night

lashes

Live Last Night

By David Malitz

Before Bat For Lashes took the 9:30 club stage Saturday night a giant backdrop was revealed. It featured a wolf howling in front of a full moon. A similar tapestry, the kind you might find at a store that sold incense and books about the Goddess, covered a piano. A pair of porcelain angels were also part of the display.

So it was going to be one of those shows.

Anyone familiar with the recorded work of Bat for Lashes, aka 29-year-old Brit Natasha Khan, wouldn't be surprised at this. Her two albums, especially this year's "Two Suns," feature moody tunes with mystical lyrics and medieval flourishes. Her live show, featuring backing musicians rotating between drums, keyboard, piano and bass, doubles down on the drama and the result was a performance that was more intriguing than interesting.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Khan follows in the footsteps of Kate Bush, Bjork and Tori Amos, performers whose music serves as a gateway into a unique universe of their own creation. She certainly has the theatrics down but except for a handful of exciting moments her songs lack the individuality of her influences. The tribal thump of "Glass" and "Two Planets" proved invigorating, with gorgeous falsetto vocals serving as a perfect counter to the sinister rumbling of the drums. "Prescilla," performed solo on zither, silenced an often-chatty crowd.

Songs such as "Peace of Mind" and "Travelling Woman" were more the norm, though, floating gently and innocuously without any real sense of direction or purpose. It was easy to stay focused on Khan, sporting artistic makeup, as she swayed across the stage and constantly moved her left hand in a circular motion, trying to add heft to light lyrics such as "Hear the desert sigh/Sing the city's lullaby/The giant iris of the wide blue sky."

But it was just as easy to let her songs fade into the background.

By David Malitz |  August 17, 2009; 12:45 PM ET Live Last Night
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