BAT FOR LASHES
Anson Rooms, Bristol | November 2nd
Tonight’s sold out show at the Anson Rooms has been anticipated and discussed at length since the release of Natasha Kahn’s latest album, The Haunted Man. The record’s resounding success comes largely due to the exquisite songwriting abilities of Natasha Khan, and her ability to craft forceful and distinctive visions.
Striding onstage in her black and white striped brocade gown, she looks incredible; part pre-Raphaelite, part 1930s Hollywood starlet, but with an earthiness and warmth that draws in the crowd from the start.
Lillies opens the show with an expressive display of confidence. Its “Thank God I’m alive!” refrain reinforces the positive nature imbued through much of Khan’s work, despite its darker tones and timbres. She smiles broadly as her band break into What’s A Girl To Do?, Khan’s ultra-choreographed movements and expressions melding with the words and music perfectly. She dances and twists, ebbing and flowing at the stage’s edge, looking divine as she does so.
Whilst new material such as Oh Yeah, A Wall and Rest Your Head are faithfully presented, they can’t quite match the crowd-stirring qualities of All Your Gold, its verse tension leading us into the rousing chorus, heightening the energy in the room. Trophy’s brooding synths and choral hand clapping sounds magnificent, and Horses Of The Sun, with its heavy rhythmic intensity is followed by Laura, a stripped bare confessional about the perils of stardom, ringing especially true in relation to Khan’s public comments on her despondencies with the industry.
Pearl’s Dream precedes encore The Haunted Man, in which Khan raises an archaic radio to the microphone as if summoning the voices and sounds of a bygone era. The Kate Bush comparisons are particularly apparent here, as her vocals soar and swoop to the military-style drumming. Rapturously-received closer Daniel leaves the audience dancing until the close, utterly absorbed by Khan’s ethereal femininity; it will surely cast its spell over far larger audiences in the coming years.
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Words: Roya Farrokhian
Photo: Boguslawa Motyczka