Last Night: Bat For Lashes and Other Lives at The Loft

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Bat For Lashes
The Loft
August 20, 2009

Better Than: Staind, who played downstairs at the Palladium.

As lightning from a distant storm flashed through the windows of The Loft, Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) proved herself to be an entertainer equal to her reputation.

With the support of a fantastic band and perfect sound quality, Khan demonstrated her craft of composing three- to five-minute pop gems that marry her clear and dynamic voice with songs  of love, conflict, and mystic.

The band included Ben Christophers handling keyboards and electronic effects--and that gave Khan the option of either playing keyboards herself or, just as often, stepping out from behind them to sing, dance, jangle bells or tamborines, or otherwise engage the audience.

Charlotte Hatherley, meanwhile, dressed in a sequined evening dress, contributed sonic guitar, bass, keyboards and backing vocals, perfectly complementing Khan's own elegant presence.

A nice introduction segued into "Glass" and the more dynamic "Sleep Alone" that had what seemed to be a somewhat female-dominated audience dancing--at least as much as possible on the packed floor. There were more intimate songs that slowed things down like "Wizard," before the initial set closed with "What's a Girl to Do" and "Pearl's Dream".  A four-song encore started slowly with Khan solo on stage, accompanying herself on autoharp for "Prescilla", and ending with "Daniel", which was given a lilting danceable arrangement.

In all, it 80 minutes of flawless, engaging performance.

Opening the show was Oklahoma's Other Lives. Channeling Elvis Perkins and Radiohead, they played a set that surprised the audience and actually generated calls for an encore--surprising given the gap between their prog rock-influenced music and the quietly gothic-esque music of Bat For Lashes.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I was expecting a good performance, but what I really saw was a world-class entertainer. I'm not necessarily crazy about Khan's music--if I had two of her songs in my iTunes, that'd probably be enough--but, live, I was blown away.

Random Note: There may have been lightning all around the Palladium last night, but the thunder heard in The Loft seemed to come from Staind's set downstairs.

By The Way: Some of Khan's adoring female fans were yapping to the point of distraction about how great she was, rather than somply enjoying the show.  I thought, at one point, the sound guy was gonnajump over his board to get them to shut up.

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