Bat for Lashes get semi-spiritural at the Varsity
The mood was immediately set with the aide of props and perfect lighting and a near spiritual encounter followed far beyond the show itself. Natasha Khan, a.k.a. Bat for Lashes, is enchanting and the prop list followed suit: full moon backdrop, detailed wolf rug hung over the keyboards, creepy twin baby dolls in white wedding gowns beside the drums and three Virgin Mary statues lined front stage. My personal favorite: Jesus himself, standing omnisicantly to the right of the keys, overlooking the crowded Varsity Theater and the enchanting gypsy songstress herself.
Romping around the stage barefoot, Khan playfully moved to each of her native-inspired, electronically-enhanced songs, her body in gold glitter taking cues from each of the instruments being played. Her voice was clear and perfect, like that of a old soul rooted in the soil. Her hands weaved the lyrics into the most detailed of stories and it was hard not to feel as though she was letting you in on an ancient and incredibly magical secret.
Her first song, "Glass", was eerie and awakened any tired limbs upon the first glorious note. Her voice echoed, ringing in and under the white lights strung from the ceiling, falling back upon the crowd like pieces of stars. Her black wavy hair flowed freely and her eyes sparkled with chunks of glitter at each corner. During "Sleep Alone" Khan shook a maraca in her hand, contrasting her ghostly vocals.
Khan informed the crowd that the Minneapolis show was the start of the Bat For Lashes US Tour. Someone in the audience yelled out a polite "Thank You" and she responded with a hushed "My pleasure" in her British accent. Throughout the long set, Khan played multiple instruments, including a harpsichord during "Horse and I," a really old accordion-box, a guitar during "Peace of Mind," more maracas, lots of keys and even the autoharp for a very intimate version of "Prescilla."
The Bat For Lashes band included ladies on guitar and drums and a guy on the keys. The two women often harmonized with Khan and sang some surprising back up melodies for a live show treat. Khan told the crowd she had "what you call a frog in my throat," but besides a few throat clearings, it was completely inaudible.
The storm brewing outside came inside the Varsity during "Wizard" as the bass rumbled, the lights flickered and Khan's handful of bells modestly sang like a porch chime blowing in the wind. Her last 'planned' song, "Pearls Dream" was a small dance party, as Khan floated around with a coy smile across her dashing features.
After each song someone in the crowd yelled "thank you," while another three drunk women shouted out their requests for "Daniel" at every opportunity. To their dismay, Daniel was the absolute last song Bat For Lashes played during the five-song encore. It was of course incredible, but the songs that came before it, "Prescilla," "Good Love," "Moon & Moon," and "Two Planets" were a much more inspiring, intimate glance into the marvelous mind of Miss Khan and her musical abilities.
Stepping out in the pouring rain, booming thunder and bright streaks of lighting was the perfect ending to a Bat performance and I'm slightly convinced that's how Khan planned it. And three days later, I'm still humming the opening song.
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