I didn't really know what to expect from this gig, bearing in mind that I've bought all three Bat for Lashes albums and yet managed to miss all of Natasha Khan’s subsequent tours. It was quite clear from the start of the gig that it wasn't sold out, but there was an expectant air around the place. Those that had chose to venture out on a Sunday evening were starting to pick up pace in excitement. The 02 at Leicester is actually quite a big venue. I was surprised by the size of it. One of the security guards told me that it held just under two and a half thousand people when it is rolled out into its nightclub.

After a long wait for the support act to appear, who incidentally were quite good, and another wait for hat seemed like a decade, the large well-adorned stage dimmed into black and the crowd cheered with anticipation.

Looking a lot thinner than I had imagined in a very slinky backless black dress, Natasha Khan made her way to the front of the stage. She and the band launched straight into ‘Lilies’, a track from Bat into Lashes’ new album ‘The Haunted Man’, and then played ‘What's A Girl to Do?’ from their first LP, ‘Fur and Gold’.

I have to admit this sounded really good, and I mean really good. Known for just as much as a performance artist as a singer Natasha has an incredible stage presence and an incredible voice to go with it. Just before she broke into a rendition of ‘Marilyn’ she acknowledged that there were lots of smiling faces out there tonight.

She weaved herself between the rocks and the instruments on the stage like a ghostly figure. The stage, whilst being quite large, was packed to the brim with instruments. Just after ‘’Marilyn’, she asked if we liked the lanterns, and the many lanterns on the stage started to glow like fairies. "Lovely, aren't they?" she whispered. The whole stage descends into darkness except for the glowing fairylike lanterns as she broke into ‘Horses of the Sun’.

It has to be said at this point that Natasha Khan has really got to be one of the best stage performers I have seen for a long, long time, and that her theatrical talent knows no bounds.

There has always been a strong element of mystery I've thought, surrounding the very being of Bat for Lashes. During this performance, she seemed, however, to me to be slowly coming away from that mystical background and coming forward to show a quite different side of her, which, while still enchanting, was almost vulnerable. She used every inch of the stage to reel you in like a ship to the Siren.

Around half way through, all the spotlights spread along the length of the stage were directed towards Natasha for an emotional ‘Laura’. Just after this breathtaking recital she had a battle with, as she called it, "a wobbly microphone", and she told us all that we were all a very attentive and quiet crowd before being supplied with a new one. It was then that for me the highlight of the evening arose when she burst into another track from the new album, ‘A Wall’. She stopped to introduce the band during the start of ‘Pearls Dream’ to which they all gradually disappeared to mark the end of a brilliant show.

Coming out again for the encore, Natasha held up what must have been quite a heavy old wooden radio up to the mic. Slowly the room filled with almost choral voices until the infectious, walloping beat to ‘The Haunted Man‘ kicked in. Sometime later as the music died and she cradled the radio, the track came to a serene end and the crowd cheered loudly and shouted for more. The last song was ‘Daniel’ at the beginning of which she gave a massive farewell to the greatly supportive audience, and which had every single one of us on our feet and cheering again as Bat for Lashes left the stage.

Set List:

What's a Girl to Do?
Travelling Woman
All Your Gold
Oh Yeah
Horses of the Sun
Siren Song
Rest Your Head
A Wall
Pearls Dream


The Haunted Man

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Commenting On: O2 Academy, Leicester, 28/10/2012 - Bat for Lashes

ie London, England

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