It’s hard to connect with five thousand people, and I’m not going to say Natasha Khan overcame that this evening, but she gave it a good go. As usual at these kind of gigs the low murmur of chatter like an accidental baseline gave that feeling that few were really listening to Khan, as she weaved suburban magi-drama with her new dance led electro bop from this year’s ‘Two Suns’ release. It’s also worrying to see Khan still strut the amateur theatrics that’s hit the mainstream with the likes of Florence and the Machine and Little Boots. But it’s not the theatrics as such that are the problem, but rather the lack of them, and their reduction to a few well choreographed arm swishes and wolf howl manoeuvres.
I first saw Bat For Lashes shortly after the first Mercury nomination and was immediately drawn into her heart transplant bat ache moan, fluttering the wings of blind abandonment. She was god-like, handing out free bat masks and lyric books on the doors, and backed by a full choir of orchestral followers. But this time it was all too dull. The vague smatterings of theatre with her multi-media encore of ‘The Big Sleep’ salvaged something, but weren’t enough to dispel the comedy of tacky lighting bolts during ‘Glass’.
I feel the skin-tight spandex of 09’s fleeting fascination with American Apparel, has paved a predictable path into dull electro-clash, when what I loved about Khan during ‘Fur & Gold’ was the Bolan cat growl, the swishing hippie cloaks and the DIY sound production; banging a wooden stick on the stage to create the cardiac beat of ‘Sarah’.