Review: Florence + The Machine

CROWD PLEASER: Florence + The Machine drew an eclectic audience at Auckland's Vector Arena.
CROWD PLEASER: Florence + The Machine drew an eclectic audience at Auckland's Vector Arena.

She was there all black and silver and magnificent.

If only for one night, the charismatic red-headed singer of Florence + the Machine turned up the heat at Auckland's Vector Arena.

You can expect nothing less than a huge voice and spectacular show from Florence Welch.

A striking figure, she wore a black cloaked dress with gold, glittery shoulders. With a stained glass backdrop and her ghostly voice, she set a gothic tone during her opening song Only If For A Night.

The Goth exterior was dropped for her second song, What the Water Gave Me. She skipped frantically across the stage lifting the crowd into a frenzy. By the time she struck You've Got the Love she had the whole audience standing and singing along.

Hipsters, punks, ladies clutching flashing neon cocktail cups, gray-haired couples holding hands - and the odd Kate Bush lookalike. I love a concert that has such a wide appeal.

Welch has been compared to Kate Bush, and it was easy to draw those comparisons visually at the show. This was particularly evident when she twirled on the large screen with a superimposed harp over her. It was very much reminiscent of the Wuthering Heights video.

But Florence + the Machine is very much moving to its own tune.

Throughout the show Welch kept up banter with the crowd, calling for a human sacrifice at one point, while later encouraging the audience to "lose it" in their dancing for their chance to win a kiss from a band-mate. She even started a lobster-clapper dance.

It was the last show of her Australasian tour, but she didn't seem to show the strain.

This is a woman who knows how to throw a party.

After a few too many dirty martinis this year she accidentally set fire to her New York hotel room following a gig. A cinnamon tea light she forgot to extinguish was the smoky culprit.

She told Q Magazine she had returned to the hotel, lost her phone, passed out in her ripped dress, and woke up to blackened walls.

Though the fire damage wasn't the biggest charge to hit her bill - it was the drinks bill.

Welch says she actually writes her best songs when drunk or hungover.

Although she seemed perfectly sober and serene throughout her Auckland concert and had the crowd singing along hit after hit from indie-pop albums Lungs and Ceremonials.

The band saved some of its biggest hits for last: Dog days; Never let me go; and No light no light.

Clapping, screaming, squealing and stomping. The crowd kept calling for more as the floor rocked beneath our feet.

If you don't believe me, trust the chorus sung at the beginning of every song by the teenage girls sitting beside me.

"Omigod I love this song... get your camera... we LOVE you Florence."


Where: Vector Arena, Auckland

When: Monday May 28 

Auckland Now