Bat For Lashes - Sydney Opera House - 4/6/11
For the first time EVER the mystical, incredible, beautiful Natasha Khan graced Australian shores, brought out as part of the Vivid Live festival. Ranked as one of the top 5 acts I've always wanted to see, expectations were high and happily I can report she did not disappoint!
It was a total feast for the senses. Gnarly trees and lanterns adorned the stage. Spooky black and white visuals played in the background. Her band (including amazing New Young Pony Club drummer Sarah Jones) and a trendy looking string quartet were all faultless.
With two critically acclaimed albums under her belt Khan wasted no time diving into her earlier work (much to my delight), dancing across the stage in her voluminous Romance Was Born ensemble shaking a tambourine and wowing us with that voice.. It's some incredible combination of equal parts Björk, Kate Bush and Cat Power, yet it has an exquisite and unmistakable tone that is completely unique. She was pitch perfect and totally captivating.
As she moved onto her newer songs we wrongly assumed she would be withdrawn and insular for the whole show, when in fact she was the exact opposite... warm and completely genuine, she chatted much like an excitable school girl throughout the performance. She even orchestrated the whole crowd up to dance for a few of her more upbeat tracks, breathlessly exclaiming “well that was fun!”
The show was over in what felt like a heartbeat. But the encore was totally incredible: with only strings as her backing track she covered Radiohead's melancholy All I Need, Depeche Mode's classic Strangelove, The Cure's Lullaby, followed by a hauntingly beautiful rendition of the Johnny Mathis classic Wild Is the Wind and finished with my favourite Peter Gabriel song Solsbury Hill.
Witnessing one of just two shows she will play this year – I felt incredibly touched by her spirit and privileged to bear witness to her breathtaking talents. Bring on album #3!