Bat For Lashes / April 30, 2009 / New York (Bowery Ballroom)
It’d be easy to say Bat For Lashes’ Nastasha Khan is a drama queen. Both her albums-- “Fur + Gold” and her latest, “Two Suns”--are quite moody affairs, blending dark electronics with a much noted Kate Bush vibe. Her stage setup furthers this impression; creepy dolls with light-up wings, a black raven, and religious statues surround her assorted keyboards, sequencers and drum kit, like they might a goth teenager’s bedroom.
But look deeper, and Khan is more than a temperamental woman who can’t quite make it out of her Smiths phase. Her records demonstrate a concern for the spiritual, the celestial, and how that relates to her own being.
Such serious issues didn’t weigh on her too long on Thursday night (April 30), though. Gracing the stage with a winged outfit, Khan was more poised and confident than her songs would lead you to believe; immediately during her opener, “Two Suns,” and “Sleep Alone,” she was animated through movement, reactionary with smiles after delivering certain lines. She was, surprisingly, happy.
While there are a number of somber, slower tunes that lined her set, such as the morose-sounding “Moon and Moon” and “Tahiti,” Khan was at her best when working with more upbeat, electronic arrangements. When the beats and rhythms were fast, like on the reprised version of “Daniel” or the tribal “Peace of Mind,” she seemed to thrive off the energy, and her audience did, too.
That said, if one were to concentrate on just her music, you’d have rather simplistic sounding, electro-keyboard driven songs that would sound a bit dull; Khan's songs aren’t diving into new territory. But paired with her voice, the material become something else altogether, ultimately making her live show a worthwhile experience. Her vocal control and range is impressive, and at times utterly mesmerizing. On this particular evening, Kahn made it evident that in this regard, she’s at the top of her class.
Here is Bat For Lashes set list:
“Horse and I”
“Peace of Mind”
“What’s A Girl To Do?”
“Moon and Moon”