BAT FOR LASHES
Tonight is the night of the messy-haired females. Everywhere I look, there are teenage girls of every description, some bedecked in sequins and chiffon, some more casually dressed, but all with the same thing in common. Obviously coiffured yet messy hair. Just as well I couldnt be arsed to brush mine properly then.
This styling also extends to main support, New York trio School of Seven Bells, who pride themselves on looking like a gang of students from the early 90s, an apparently effortless slacker chic (apart from the keyboard player- she looked like a former housemate of mine who couldnt get dressed without advice from her mother. True story). And theyre obviously too cool to speak either as they launch into their opening track with only a brief acknowledgement of their audience. Perhaps Im just a bit old-fashioned but a charismatic stage presence often goes a long way to making a performance more enjoyable, a concept which SoSB dont ever fully embrace on this occasion. Like Luscious Jackson with bigger electronics and dreamier vocals, whilst the sound is often potentially atmospheric, they end up falling a little short of entertaining. Which is a shame. In truth, I actually liked the songs, dont get me wrong; uplifting electronic indie-pop, tracks like Half asleep and Chain are beautifully simple in melody and arrangement and ultimately listener friendly but, live, they suck. In fact, I became so bored and frustrated, I couldnt honestly tell you much more, except that I should buy their record Alpinisms and skip their live shows if I were you. There are plenty of opportunities for hand-claps in the privacy of your own home and you can make yourself comfortable while youre participating.
There is, at least, a sense of magic and anticipation when Natasha
Khan and her band take to the stage. The girls in the audience have
now donned matching masquerade masks to add a touch of glamour to proceedings.
After all, the figure crooning centre-stage is wearing what appears
to be a large ruffled collar. Her hair is also slightly neater and,
from the outset, her mix of kooky charm and intimate sensuality impress
as much as Tori Amos or Bjork in terms of intrigue, so she is deserving
of their glittery salute.
Many thanks to Joe Aybak for getting stuck in Robin
Hoods Bay and so subsequently letting me pose as him for the evening.
Words Anna C; pix Steve Bateman