Bat For Lashes completed the U.S. portion of its North American tour at Town Hall in NYC. Multi-instrumentalist Natasha Khan, accompanied only by Laura Groves on keyboard and backing vocals, came across the pond for an eight-date jaunt in support of last year’s Lost Girls. Aside from a handful of her new songs, Khan played some old faves as well as covers of songs by Don Henley, Kate Bush and Cyndi Lauper. MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was there, because it’s not just girls who wanna have fun.
Damien Jurado will release his third album in less than two years on May 1. What’s New, Tomboy? (Mama Bird) follows 2019’s In The Shape Of A Storm and 2018’s The Horizon Just Laughed, though the new LP is more of a band-based effort. Jurado’s recent tour, however, was a solo jaunt, even though he brought comedian/actor Nick Thune along for the ride. MAGNET photographer Chris Sikich caught the “Sad Music, Sad Comedy Tour” stop at Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live.
Even the resolute Freddie Mercury, were he alive today, would surely concede that there are times when the show mustn’t go on. He of all people could appreciate the consequences of spreading a virus.
Indeed, mere hours before doors were to open on a release party for French trio Slift’s latest album, Ummon, the French government forbade all gatherings of more than 100 people, in an effort to slow the coronavirus epidemic currently rampaging through the Hexagon. This show, therefore, did not go on.
More’s the pity, for the band has just hit its creative stride.
Yes, the group’s previous output—including most notably 2018 full-length La Planète Inexplorée—is competent heavy psych. But the new double-LP to have been feted this evening is a light-years leap forward. The album is in parts searing space metal in the vein of Finland’s Kaleidobolt and in others quirky psych rock with echoes of California’s Oh Sees. To its great credit, Ummon is sprawling and searching but never at the expense of a thunderous jam.
Slift is now the band Hawkwind would’ve been wise to become: muscular with metal ferocity, rippling with reverb-heavy psychedelia, starry-eyed with spacey wanderlust, yet shorn of all literary pretension.
I’m confident that if tonight’s concert had taken place, Slift would have slayed. Perhaps even more than the virus would have.
Recommended drug pairing: a factory-rolled fatty with a palmful of Purell.
— Eric Bensel
Touring in support of last year’s Metronomy Forever (Because Music), the Joseph Mount-led British quintet brought the dance party to Brooklyn Steel. Metronomy had the joint jumping the whole show, and MAGNET photographer Wes Orshoski was there, with his heart rate rapid.
At Boot & Saddle, Bonny Light Horseman blurred the lines between centuries with contemporary arrangements of traditional songs that have been around for hundreds of years—plus a few ringers from the 1970s. The band drew heavily on sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, including singer/songwriter sincerity, all-natural harmonies and psych-inspired guitar solos. At times, the blended voices of Anaïs Mitchell and Eric D. Johnson (Fruit Bats) sounded earthly and otherworldly at once.
Erin Rae opened with a solid solo set, then returned to join Bonny Light Horseman for a stripped-down version of “The Wild Mountain Thyme.”
Highlights: Bonny Light Horseman’s “Bonny Light Horseman,” “Jane Jane” and “Blackwaterside”; Rae’s “Bad Mind” and “Wild Blue Wind”
—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich