Elbow & Bat For Lashes live at iTunes Festival
- By Nik Jeffries -
- Sep 10, 2012
Tunes annual month long residency at the Camden Roundhouse is now firmly established and tonight saw Mancunian legends Elbow supported by ethereal songstress Bat For Lashes.
Bat for Lashes, nom de plume of Natasha Khan, took the stage donning a navy blue jump suit, red cape and fascinator; successfully coming across as a mix of Bjork and Little Red Riding Hood. Performing a short set drawing on her last two albums (including ‘What’s a Girl to Do?’ and ‘Horse and I’ from her accomplished 2006 debut ‘Fur and Gold’) as well as a handful of new songs off the forthcoming ‘The Haunted Man’. Her new songs display something of a direction change, far less brooding and more electronic pop-centric. She introduces new song ‘Oh Yeah’ as one “to get you dancing”; as it lollops along on a course of electronic drum patterns and catchy synth melodies. She has reinvented her persona again (previous cohort and ex-Ash member Charlotte Hatherley is nowhere to be seen) and is clearly taking the Kate Bush influences that always ran through her output more seriously. Latest single ‘Laura’ and the similarly name-inspired ‘Daniel’ help stake her claim as the current queen of the theatrical alternative pop.
Imagine being Guy Garvey for a second, your band has put in over 10 years of hard graft, you’ve garnished increased critical acclaim over the course of five albums, built a strong reputation as the festival band, you’ve won the Mercury Prize, Hell, you’ve even got your own 6 Music radio show. There’s a reassuring touch of honesty about Elbow; they’re not a flash in the pan success, after all they’ve only recently started headlining arenas. Their popularity is a result of keeping their heads down and simply getting on with it. All very British, then. This hard earned reputation culminated over the summer with their much publicised commissioning by the BBC to write the official Olympic anthem ‘First Steps’. After their performance at the closing ceremony their record sales shot up 1000%.
There was a touch of the victory lap to Elbow’s performance; Guy exuded a confidence and charisma befitting of their newfound ubiquity. They began with ‘High Ideals’ from last year’s ‘Build A Rocket Boys!’ before slipping into the ‘The Bones of You’ - the set focused mostly on their last three albums. Before ‘Leaders of the Free World’ Guy took pointed effort to explain in his inimitable, charming fashion the history of the Roundhouse venue, explaining how horses would turn trains around in the main hall “whilst the Sex Pistols played downstairs”.
The rousing and anthemic ‘Grounds for Divorce’ saw Guy thumping at the drums whilst the crowd rapturously sang along to the infectious harmony. ‘The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver’ was soul-stirring; the backing string quartet giving the song a graceful air. Before ‘Weather to Fly’ Guy led the audience in a Happy Birthday sing a long for bassist Pete Turner, humorously quipping that we “wouldn’t believe how many birthdays Pete’s had this year!” They finished the evening with the Olympic friendly ‘One Day Like This’, the crowd – euphoric and elated - eating out the palm of their hands.
Fair play to Elbow. They’ve done their porridge, stayed humble and as a result are getting all their due rewards.
Images from iTunes Festival
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