Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bat For Lashes @ Brighton Corn Exchange

It was just a few weeks ago when we posted our review of the first live outing of Bat For Lashes for this year, at their pre-tour warm up show in Portsmouth. Now with the tour fully underway they return to the south coast and a much larger venue at the Corn Exchange in Brighton. This is a homecoming gig for Natasha Khan; during the set she dedicates one of the songs to her old school friends who are here tonight amongst the Khan fashion lookalike wannabe girls and punters wearing Bat For Lashes masks.

Unfortunately the magnitude of the venue doesn’t suit Bat For Lashes tonight. Visually and audibly the performance does not project any further back than the front few rows. Much of the gig is languid, with Khan often seated at her keyboard delivering tunes with lack of fervour and heart. Recent single Daniel should be a highlight, but a stripped down version placed early in the set lacks weight and is only mildly diverting. It is only when the band bring in heavier dancier multi drumming beats towards the end on Two Planets that the show really comes alive. Eventually the band revive Daniel for a second outing, this time powerful and potent, with clannish sounding synths and an excellent dreamy haunting vocal. These highlights are few however, not even the reuniting of the band with former member Caroline Weeks for one song brings any freshness or emotion.

Two years ago we saw Natasha Khan play songs from her debut album on a large stage at several festivals and found her music to be incredibly moving. At this show in Brighton however, be it the extensiveness of the venue or the lack of soul in the new material the set fails to be anything other than disappointingly average.

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