Bat for Lashes may have lost the Mercury prize to the Klaxons, but they won me over at the Crocodile last night. Kid Hops had a cancellation in his group and kindly gave me the extra ticket. I had only just heard their single "What's a Girl To Do?" on KEXP a few days ago, but after the show I was moved to buy the CD (and listened to it twice once I got home). It includes a cover of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," which annoyed me at first and then made me tear up. Anyhow, I was talking with Croc booker Pete Greenberg after the show about the smallish crowd. He reckoned that like me, people hadn't heard much of her, although she's in all the music magazines and big in Europe. So the next time she rolls through, it'll be a party.
I find a lot of music with spiritual/fantastical undertones stage-y and distracting live, for instance Brightblack Morning Light with their tee-pee and quartz onstage. But something about this band felt really natural to me. I think singer Natasha Khan is good at making her private, weird creative world life-size and compelling. It could also be that I did my first burlesque performance on Saturday night, which was terrifying and fun, and seeing Khan's confident and unique stage presence was doubly inspiring with that in mind.
Here's a great interview with Natasha, and a video of "Horse & I," the song they performed at the Mercury ceremony. Oh, and their music?! Spooky, haunting, a bit Kate Bush and a bit Siouxsie and a bit The Golden Compass.