Summer has quickly come to a close. Students have settled into their new homes, the incoming freshmen have begun to pour in and classes are finally upon us. Although not everyone is excited to get back to the grind of school, one positive aspect of the fall semester is the long list of excellent bands passing through town. And on a very hot, humid Monday evening last week, the Majestic played host to Bat for Lashes, arguably a perfect way to kick off that list.
Natasha Khan, the face behind Bat for Lashes, is a singer-songwriter from London. She has been performing under the moniker since 2006 and has built quite a following for herself back home. With three solid album releases to date, including last year’s dark yet beautiful release, The Haunted Man, and a spot at Coachella Music and Arts Festival 2013, she is also quietly gaining more fans across the United States.
The Majestic Theatre was as busy as ever on Monday. The upstairs balcony was closed off, but that didn’t stop the theater from filling its entire first floor. It was clear everyone there was anticipating a great show.
The night kicked off with a solid opener, Barbarian, a group whose genre can best be described as post-punk meets sorrow-filled pop. They weren’t afraid to wail on their instruments while leaving the audience in a slight state of melancholy. Between songs, the five gentlemen didn’t banter much onstage. They instead used their time to share as much music with the crowd as possible. By the time they had finished, the crowd was visibly enjoying them, still energized and ready for the headliner.
After a short break – in which the crowd continued to grow in both size and anticipation – Bat for Lashes finally took the stage. The crowd went wild when the lights turned off and shouted even louder as the silhouettes of the backing band appeared onstage. Finally, Khan, dressed in a slender black and white dress, walked out from behind the curtain, waving to the crowd as she approached the microphone. She then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The show was underway.
The concert started off in a big way, with a mix of cello, electric guitar and synthesizer, all brought together with powerful electronic-sounding drumbeats. Even with so much going on behind her, all eyes were on Khan as she sang. Her light and airy vocals filled the venue. She sang powerfully and with purpose. She started off with some of her older songs, most notably “What’s a Girl to Do”? from her first album, Fur and Gold, before switching into a set filled with songs from The Haunted Man.
The only problem of the night came a few songs into the set. The drummer was having audio issues, and the band took a short pause in the set. Rather than having the crowd sit in silence, Khan asked if anyone knew any good jokes. She continued to chat with the crowd for a few minutes, sharing some laughs and even answering a few questions yelled from somewhere in the audience. The technical difficulties were fixed, and they went right back into playing as if nothing had happened.
After a few more upbeat songs, Khan changed the mood completely when she played “Laura,” the first single off her most recent album. The crowd went silent when the pensive piano started, and the only time anyone spoke was to join her in singing the chorus: “You’re the train that crashed my heart / You’re the glitter in the dark / Oh, Laura, you’re more than a superstar.”
She flawlessly transitioned back into the mellow dance pop she had started with and stuck with that vibe for the rest of the show. The singer loved to move her body, dancing along to all of her songs and encouraging everyone to join her. By the time she sang the last song, everyone was grooving to the beat, except for the watchful few who were too mesmerized by the performance Bat for Lashes was bringing to the stage.
The crowd refused to move after she left the stage, screaming for her to come back and sing one more song. She appeased them and came back to play an incredible rendition of “All Your Gold,” which ended with her holding a speaker above her head and bringing closure to the beautiful experience that she shared with the Majestic on a hot August night.