Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Live Show: Bat for Lashes

Back in June I ran across a video of "Bat for Lashes" (aka British singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Natasha Khan) over at transbuddha and was intrigued. I bought the album and it nestled itself into my ipod as my afternoon commute/nighttime background music. When I found out she and her band were coming through town on July 30 at Cafe du Nord, one of my favorite local venues, as one of only two stops on the west coast, I bought tickets.

First off, the Cafe du Nord is a great venue. It has a very intimate setting. It's very small, the stage is not that high off the ground, and there really isn't a bad place in the house. While the Fillmore and Great American Music Hall are great places to see larger more well-known bands, on any given night at the Cafe du Nord, you might catch the next big thing.

Or, in this case, I caught the thing that is already big in the UK, but not very large yet on this side of the pond.

I'm going to be repeating pretty much every review of Bat for Lashes when I say that she sounds like a cross between Bjork and Kate Bush, with a dash of Tori Amos thrown in. The music flirts with fantasy and tickles that part of your brain that was so enthralled by magic, wizards, quests, and fairies as a child (or if you like Harry Potter, as an adult). But the subject matter of the music is more mature and speaks of love and loss, often through metaphor.

You can hear that Natasha has a great voice off of her album. But when you see her live, you realize that she really does have an amazing set of pipes. As you watch her perform, she goes from "the girl who sounds a bit like Bjork" to an artist in her own right. The band also uses an array of instruments, including bells, violins, guitars, some strange squeeze box thing, some string instrument on a table, yeah, I don't even know. They also use a few large drums and an array of different percussion instruments, including clapping for cadence. During "Sarah" Natasha uses a huge staff looking thing which she bangs on the stage for percussion. Which totally turned me on. The end result is an interesting digital, traditional, and down-right tribal sound.

They're playing in LA tonight. If any of you can catch them, it's totally worth it! Thanks for a great show girls!

Here are their youtube videos. I also threw a few more in my music playlist over there. I like the nod to Donnie Darko on "What's a Girl To Do."


Photo from Three Pink Monkeys on Flickr.

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