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Bat for Lashes in their element
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Bat for Lashes in their element

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

Bat for Lashes
August 26
Neumos


Natasha Khan is without a doubt the most whimsical female singer in recent memory. Ethereal, haunting, and undeniably beautiful, Khan is the creative force behind Bat for Lashes. The comparisons to eccentrics Kate Bush and Bjork are inevitable. In person at Neumos, Khan also channeled a bit of Stevie Nicks and the modern baroque cool of Allison Goldfrapp, yet she's really like none of those women at all.

In June, Bat for Lashes played the Crocodile to a sold-out crowd and came back to Neumos last week to equal anticipation. From the very first song, "Glass," the air was filled with diva catcalls and appreciative shouts.

Khan's lush albums and dark videos have definitely struck a chord with the ladies and the diva-worshiping hordes, and it's no wonder. My skin tingled along with everyone else's when the thunderous percussion of "Sleep Alone" kicked in (drummer Sarah Jones even uses a timpani on stage). Khan's backing band was amazingly talented, featuring guitarist and singer-songwriter Charlotte Hatherley and Ben Christophers on keyboards.

Crashing cymbals and autoharp filled the space around Khan's voice perfectly and to dramatic effect. She hit extreme highs and lows with incredible ease, as well as building anticipation on songs like "Horse and I." Dancing in bare feet and draped in what resembled scarves loosely fashioned into a dress, Khan had the crowd in the palm of her hand. The show felt reverential, like a mood lit up with songs and everyone hanging in between with bated breath.

"Siren Song" was a shimmering high point, as well as the slow-burner "Trophy," where the audience clapped in time. Quieter piano-driven songs such as "Travelling Woman" and "Tahiti" showcased Khan's pitch-perfect vocals.

Finishing up with audience favorite "Pearl's Dream," "What's a Girl to Do?" and an encore performance featuring the hit single "Daniel," Bat for Lashes continued to enchant.

Natasha Khan is a stunningly gifted performer who hopefully will never give in to the self-indulgent kookiness of some of the eccentric ladies before her. Growing stardom seems to only make her look deeper inside to deliver a memorable body of work and jaw-dropping performances to match.

It's rare indeed for lyrics referencing knights, crystal castles, planets, and moons to actually transcend irony to convey duality or yearning. But in concert and on their newest album Two Suns, Bat for Lashes sound as if they are from another world altogether. They have a language of their own, channeled through their wild yet soft-spoken singer and her mythical dreams.

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