Went to see Bat for Lashes last night – and look what was front and centre on stage. Yes my own, my very own (well not my very own) microKORG! It’s the first time I’ve seen equipment I own used by ‘proper’ (read ‘professional’) musicians.
I was only slightly disappointed that it wasn’t Bat for Lashes, or Natasha Khan herself, playing the mK, it was the support act Sylver Tongue – if you’ve ever wondered what happened to the guitar player from 90s indie-boys/girl Ash (I hadn’t), this is what she’s doing now. Actually really good – electro-aria stuff, ideal support for BFL – even if she comes over as a bit of a bitch. This might just be her stage persona of course, or maybe I’m getting on a bit; I like warmth and audience connection from my performers, not haughtiness and ‘coolness’. Gonna follow them on Soundcloud, maybe iTunes the EP.
I was sniffing round the equipment a bit – I think security thought I was going to half inch something – when my eagle eyes spotted… another microKORG! This one was part of BTL’s, rig squirreled away amongst some very interesting looking (analog?) synths. Gratifying to see instruments you love being used to create music you love.
And the gig itself? Wonderful, helped in no little part by the venue: Manchester Cathedral. I’m a bit ambivalent about places of worship doubling up as gig venues, but you generally get a better standard of behaviour and I suppose these places need to get the money for their upkeep from wherever they can. (The gig was introduced by a very right-on (female) vicar who urged us to make a donation – right before making the rock n roll devil horns!). My issue is more with the music not being appropriate. I saw Mystery Jets here a couple of years ago, and that really didn’t work, their music – harder and less ‘poppy’ live – just wasn’t right for the setting.
Bat for Lashes, however, is almost tailor-made for a venue like this: ethereal, haunting, mystical and all the other adjectives routinely applied to her sound, but above all else her voice – the range and strength of which has increased with each album, and is hugely powerful and dynamic live – seemed to ring off the cold, stone stanchions and physically inhabit the space around us. She said at one point she wished she could play all her gigs there – but I bet she says that in all the venues, the silver tongued devil….
Highlights (for me) were Oh Yeah, my favourite off the new album; Travelling Woman, sung and played with real feeling, a heart and soul performance; and, of course my namesake song, Daniel, which she played as part of the encore – is it stupid to feel special because you share your name with a BFL song? Between numbers she indicated that her voice was going (this was her second consecutive night at the cathedral): didn’t negatively affect her performance one iota. Fantastic gig, up there with the best I’ve been to. It inspired me to write a review, something I haven’t done for a long, long time!
The light show was cool too, really worked well with the architecture. It’s a shame my crummy phone shots don’t do it justice.