Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bat For Lashes / School Of Seven Bells / Caroline Weeks @ The Town Hall, Sunday 12th April 2009

You've been reading my witterings for years now (I know, it seems like decades...but it's only years). So what better (other than me shutting the hell up and going off to join a Buddist retreat) than a fresh voice, a new other words someone who actually does a proper job of reviewing gigs. It is with great pleasure therefore that I announce the first ever guest reviewer (and photographer) for The Hearing Aid, ladies and gentlemen Mr Andy Watson!

This is the first time I’ve been to a gig at the Town Hall, and I hope it’s not the last as the sound in the old building was far better than most of the venues in Birmingham, First up was Caroline Weeks (Aka Ginger Lee in Bat For Lashes). Unfortunately I arrived at the venue with only 3 songs of her set remaining, but what I got from those 3 songs is a feeling of long lost summers, her voice sounded beautiful echoing from the walls of the Town Hall like a female Nick Drake (that would be Nicola Drake then – The Baron), and a stunning cover of The Drowning Man by The Cure helped close what I’m guessing was a beautiful set.

Next up, all the way from Brooklyn New York was School of Seven Bells, featuring Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines) and identical twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (On! Air! Library). For their 30min set they played songs from their debut release Alpinisms. These tracks- a dreamy blend of rock/folk and dance beats - had the crowd moving within seconds and I enjoyed it almost as much as Bat for Lashes. From the dreaminess of "My Cabal" to the dancey "Wired For Light" this band ticks all the boxes. I can’t wait to see them again at THE RAINBOW on the 15th May.

And then it was time for Bat For Lashes. I’ve not been so excited to see a singer live since seeing Bjork for the first time last year. There are a few similarities between both artists as they both use a non mainstream pop formula that, on paper, you wouldn’t think would work but in reality it’s AWESOME, with new CD "Two Suns" battling its way into the top 10 a great follow up to the mercury nominated Fur and Gold. 29 year old Natasha Khan’s Bat For Lashes is great on CD but live all the sounds filled the town hall, delighting the senses and really bringing the music to life. The crowed were so respectful and silent on the quieter songs like Tahiti (performed with Caroline Weeks on harpsichord) that Natasha asked if there was anyone out there. This was followed by a stunning piano only version of 1st single of Two Suns’ Daniel. The set was filled with songs from both albums and the encore of " What’s a Girl To Do" and " Two Planets" left the crowd still wanting more. Natasha didn’t let them down saying "I only have one other song I can play!!!" and burst into a full band version of Daniel that had everyone on their feet. I have to say that, after seeing soul queen Joss Stone earlier this year, Natasha Khan’s vocals are up there with the very best. I’m just glad I got to see her in such a great setting at the Town Hall, before she jets into the superstardom that has to be her future!!!

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