Bat For Lashes - Liverpool Carling Academy
Live Review

Bat For Lashes – Liverpool Carling Academy

Last year Bat for Lashes released her debut album Fur and Gold to much critical acclaim and suffered what many would argue was a robbing at the hands of the Klaxons in the Mercury Music Prize. Her knack of creating songs that build powerful atmosphere, often through their textured use of weird and wonderful instruments, has earned her a place on the big stage as she supports Radiohead on their UK stadium tour later this month.

The spaced out songstress took to Liverpool’s Carling Academy 2 tonight to blow away any live cobwebs that are lingering after six months in the studio. In the confines of the tiny stage her vast collection of instruments, which includes something that looks like a cross between a violin and a trombone, gives you the feeling that this gig is taking place in a sort of musical Steptoe’s yard. Bat for Lashes (aka Natasha Khan) takes to the stage dressed in a Druid-like white robe and brandishing what can only be described as a “stick” which she proceeds to hammer on the ground during the opening of fan favourite Trophy. Whilst at first impression you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled upon the kind of thing that goes on in some squalid corner of Glastonbury, Bat for Lashes never loses any edge when deploying her folk influences. It is not long before a sub-bass-line grumbles up from underneath the vocals and launches into a full on groove that can’t fail to set toes tapping.

Successfully striking the balance between fearless experimentation and making music that instantly manages to grip an audience is no mean feat and it is perhaps this band’s greatest strength. Although the music has probably provided the soundtrack to many a gentile dinner party, it never becomes pedestrian. The ambience in Khan’s voice isn’t contrived by the kind of pretentious and melodramatic hushes that so many artists resort to when attempting to create something that sounds huge (yes Enya, I’m looking at you) but is honestly affecting. By the time she reaches the chorus, Khan is belting Trophy out at the top of her lungs with such ferocity that the hairs on the back of your neck don’t just stand up but fully pack their bags and leave in search of something quieter, like an Enya concert.

During the course of her set, Bat for Lashes tours through the highlights of her debut album and introduces some of her new material, which has her gaily lashing at a set of massive drums to the delight of band and audience members alike. With ticket prices for the Radiohead bash starting at fifty quid a pop, expectation is going to be high for her support slot at Lancashire County Cricket Club later this month. On the evidence of tonight’s performance though, this show can only get better on the big stage.

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