Skip to main content

Bat for Lashes

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
Four stars

The Day of the Dead might have passed along with Hallowe’en, but that hasn’t paled Natasha Khan’s penchant for gothic drama in terms of this stripped down mini tour to showcase this year’s independently released Lost Girls record. A concept album of sorts forged in the heat of Khan’s Death Valley wanderings and involving vampire girl gangs, Lost Girls began as a film script idea.

Dressed majestically in a vivid scarlet frock on a stage of old school synthesisers and a music stand illuminated by a circle of vintage lamps, she certainly looks the part. With only a keyboardist for company in a cabaret table set-up, this is Khan as chanteuse, freed from the machine-age trappings of a full band set-up and left vulnerable and exposed in the solitary spotlight of such an intimate and safety-net free arrangement.

Preceded by a mood-setting play-list of 1980s synth soundtracks full of foreboding, Khan opens with a salvo of the new album’s opening five songs, punctuating each with little back-stories as she moves between the keyboard and centre-stage. “I wanted to strip things back and be scared,” she says, explaining her motivation for such a set-up. Later she’ll say how shy she’s feeling, but for all the nerves during the hour she’s onstage, her lucid balladeering reveals hidden depths to her already mystery-laden vignettes.

Shorn of their beats and disco fizz, Desert Man and Jasmine sound like Terry Riley riffs given a pop reboot. A cover of Don Henley’s drive-time classic, Boys of Summer, shows off Khan’s 80s roots in a different way, and talk of her university researches into alien abduction leads into Close Encounters before closing the set with sublime crowd-pleasers, Daniel and Laura.

If Boys of Summer is audacious, the encore of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work is brave, but Khan nails it beautifully. A frog in the throat almost derails the final moments of a similarly lovely version of Cyndi Lauper’s I Drove All Night. Khan laughs it off, radiating light from the darkness once more.

The Herald, November 25th 2019

ends 





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug