Florence and the Machine home
Florence and the Machine
Rolling up at Sala Bikini at the last minute, it was a rush to cram myself into the venue. The small space was full to bursting with a crowd overwhelmingly made up of Brits, many visiting especially for the occasion, plus a few music-savvy locals thrown in for good measure.
There was a roar of approval as the band took to the stage and launched straight in to the addictive 'Howl'. Florence herself was a sequinned, ruffled vision, her trademark beacon of vivid red hair glowing under the lights and making her look almost otherworldly. She seems to be an intriguing mix of fierce and fragile, energetic and ethereal. During breakthrough hit 'Kiss With A Fist', she leapt wildly around the stage like an overexcited child. There were also incredible moments of calm as Florence showed off the full range and intensity of her extraordinary voice, such as in the sublime, bluesy 'Ghosts'. The size of the venue made for a wonderfully intimate gig and, apart from the odd feedback issue, fantastic sound quality. Isabella Summers on keyboards was particularly impressive.
Hit 'Drumming Song' went down a storm, but it was the opening of 'Dog Days Are Over' which really stood out. The crowd immediately launched into song, but with one graceful sweep of her arms, Florence brought the room back to an awed hush. Starting off softly and delicately, she gradually built in intensity until she had whipped the room into a frenzy. At the song's quietest point, she persuaded us all to crouch down on the floor, ready to leap up at her cue. There was a delicious moment's pause before she screamed "GO!", the second verse slammed in and everyone went wild—without doubt a moment that will stay with me for a long time.
The encore of club classic 'You've Got The Love' and the hugely popular 'Rabbit Heart' brought the show to a dazzling finish. Florence seemed refreshingly unassuming and genuinely pleased by the reception she got, murmuring "Thank you so much", and apologising that the set couldn't be longer because she didn't have any more songs. Shame, because she could have gone on all night. Still, with an appearance at Primavera Sound coming up in May, it's not long until she'll be back, and I for one will be first in line.
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