To Die By Your Side

Florence & The Machine – Wolverhampton Civic Hall 10/05/2010

May 14th, 2010

For someone who belts out her songs, Florence Welch doesn’t half speak softly. She’s six songs into a sweaty, euphoria fulled set before she properly adresses the crowd at any length and when she does, the contrast between voice and her vocals is so stark, that for a moment you wonder how they possibly come from the same person. Not that you could really confuse her with anyone else. For not only does Florence command the stage she’s on, but in the ever saturated world of indenti-kit female singers and Winehouse wannabes, it’s fair to say there’s no-one else quite like her.

A fact clearly evident in the buzz of an eager crowd who cheer, sing and dance with the kind of devoted abandon usually reserved for more established acts. Such is the anticaption and atmosphere building before the show, that one of the roadies gets applause during the mic check. It’s fair to say when Florence & The Machine take the stage to a riotous reception, the crowd are not in the mood to be disappointed. Thankfully they’re not.

Backed by a full band and string section, Florence delivers a confident, assured and energetic performance. She sways seductively, swishes, sashays and frolics around the stage. Loses herself in songs, performing them with a freshness that belies the heavy touring and promoting of the past year. What’s most remarkable though is the range of her voice. Whether roaring every note with a controlled power or softly trilling,  her vocals are quite astonishing.  She resists the unnecessary showboating that passes for modern singing, holding single notes instead of hovering all around them. All the time dancing and throwing herself into the performance. Clearly fuelled by the rapturous applause and singing that greets every song, she visibly relaxes as the set progresses.

The band too drive her on. While the guitar normally takes precedent as lead instrument, The Machine’s dominant force is the propulsive rhythms carry virtually every song. Providing more than mere rhythm, they take the main role, a centre for the rest of the band to follow. With lush instrumentation from the harp stage right and keyboards stage left, the guitar only really dominates during a shambolically punky rip through ‘Kiss With A Fist’. Elsewhere, ‘Girl With One Eye’ is teasingly seductive, ‘I’m Not Calling You A Liar’ is achingly fragile and honest, while ‘You Got The Love’ is surprisingly restrained. Starting from string laden beginnings, it builds and explodes into life but never quite reaching the euphoric heights you’d expect. It does however set the scene for a fantastically energised ‘Dog Days Are Over’. Florence climbs up onto the speakers, all eyes focused on her high above the stage.

Returning for an encore, Florence seems genuinely moved and surprised by the crowd’s reaction. Blasting through the aforementioned ‘Kiss With A Fist’, her wild hair tamed by the sweat, she invites the crowd to end the night by joining her in a one move dance routine. The masses leap as one, raising it up as ‘Rabbit Heart’ ends the night. The crowd united in raised voices, arms and bodies, celebrating the end of a captivating and scintillating night. With a performance like this and two new songs that show her debut album was no fluke, it seems that Florence & The Machine more than deserve the success and praise that has been heaped on them.

Setlist – Howl / My Boy Builds Coffins / Girl With One Eye / Between Two Lungs / Drumming Song / Blinding / I’m Not Calling You A Liar / Swimming / Cosmic Love / Strangeness & Charm / You Got The Love / Dog Days Are Over / Encore – Kiss WIth A Fist / Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Florence & The Machine – drumming song (live acoustic session version) original version available on ‘Lungs’

Filed Under Live Review, Music

Rach posted the following on May 14, 2010 at 7:23 pm.

I am jealous. I want to see her live so bad but it seems she has no plans to come to the states anytime in the near future. 🙁

So glad to hear she didn’t disappoint and it sounds like it was a pretty amazing show.

LUVM posted the following on May 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm.

Sod Florence! She’s too sanitised for me. (nice review though) 🙂

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Yan posted the following on May 29, 2010 at 11:45 pm.

Anyway you can reupload the live acoustic version of Drumming Song? I have been searching for hours for this version. I have the acoustic version from her “Drumming Song EP” but this is a different one.

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