A review of Bat for Lashes, with support from Sylver Tongue at the Ironworks, Inverness on Thursday 18th of October, 2012.
This was the first night of Bat for Lashes’ UK tour at the Ironworks to promote the recently released album ‘The Haunted Man‘.
Support act Sylver Tongue continued the recent tradition of support bands at the Ironworks that you really didn’t want to miss. A blend of spaced out pop tunes with searing guitar hooks, plenty of reverb and thrumming bass. Lead singer and guitarist Charlotte Hatherley was business-like and kept the chat to a minimum preferring to let the music do the work for them. You might have recognised her under her Ziggy Stardust-esque outfit as the former guitarist with ASH as well as being part of the Bat for Lashes touring band for a period. Their moody atmospheric pop was to be the perfect warm up for the main act.
Bat for Lashes came on stage to rapturous applause and opened with ‘Winter Fields’ before continuing with ‘Horses from the Sun’, both from the new album ‘The Haunted Man’. The album was only released on Monday but the songs already seemed to be familiar to everyone and Natasha Khan beamed from ear to ear at the positive reception. This being the first gig of their UK tour in support of a new album you’d possibly expect to see a few teething issues but none were apparent. The band was well rehearsed, in tune with each other and gave us what would turn out to be a memorable set.
Khan has a powerful stage presence, alternately prowling the floor before whirling like a dervish or crouching at the edge of the stage and staring intently at the audience. She’s left the Bjork and Kate Bush comparisons far behind and is forging her own path, three albums in and it doesn’t seem like she’s running out of ideas either.
Obviously the focus was on the new album and why not? Easily her strongest material to date, she’s dropped some of the mystic imagery and frippery that went along with the last record ‘Two Suns’ and has produced an album that is slightly more stripped back and raw than the previous two.
‘Tahiti’ and ‘Travelling Woman’ slowed the pace slightly before she exploded into ‘Oh Yeah’, using every inch of the available space to twist and turn and deliver what for me was turning into one of the gigs of the year. ‘Laura’ with its subtle arrangement and moving lyrics (‘Laura you’re more than a superstar/Say that you’re stuck in a pale blue dream/And your tears feel hot on my bed sheets) was sung so passionately that you wonder how close to the subject material she was, it certainly seemed to have the desired impact with a few wiped eyes in evidence.
Her natural charisma had a now utterly entranced audience in the palm of her hand, leading them through a journey from the earlier mystical tunes of ‘Horse and I’, to the life affirming cry of ‘I’m still alive’ during ‘Lilies’ , the building crescendo of ‘Siren Song’, an upbeat version of ‘Daniel’ during the encore before finishing with ‘Pearl’s Dream’.
An hour and a half went by far too quickly, she could have stayed on stage for another two hours and not a soul would have dared to leave the venue, such was the hold she had over them during that brief period.
Gig of the year? Definitely.
Horse of the Sun
All your Gold
Horse and I
Rest Your Head
See other recent reviews and more photos of Bat for Lashes and Sylver Tongue at the Ironworks.