Review: Florence and the Machine

BY TRACEY BOND
Last updated 10:34 30/07/2010

Florence Welch returns to Auckland

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Trusts Stadium was bubbling with excitement as girls in floaty dresses and sequined headbands skipped across the stadium floor towards the front of the stage.

Indie darlings The Drums were first up, putting in an energetic performance. The catchy I Need Fun in my Life got the crowd dancing, with lead singer Jonathan Pierce promising "Florence is up next".

Then it was the turn of Florence and the Machine, fronted by the charismatic Florence Welch.

From the moment she burst onto the stage, barefoot in a floaty black chiffon dress over a sparkly top and shorts, Welch showcased the incredible range and power of her voice. 

The infectious Drumming Song set the bar for the rest of the night.

The crowd knew every word to her songs, a fact she constantly acknowledged by dipping her microphone towards the audience.

Welch told Stuff.co.nz in an earlier interview that she was back in town because of the "tremendous amount of support from fans over here".

As a performer she is huge bundle of contradictions: one moment striking dramatic poses on a stage drenched with dry ice and moody lighting, the next lost in a moment in the song.

Yet she always connects to the audience.

"I saw you in that shop earlier today," she exclaimed as she recognised someone at the front of the stage.

The band was last here in February as the headlining act for the debut of the St Jerome's Laneway music festival in Auckland.

"Thank you for such an awesome welcome back! You've re-energised me!" Welch told the crowd.

Welch has a huge amount of energy; she was constantly in motion: twirling, leaping and jumping around the stage.

The backdrop was festooned with fairy lights for an ethereal rendition of Cosmic Love: Watching her spinning around on stage was dizzying.

It was on I'm not Calling you a Liar, accompanied by little more than a harp - and the majority of the Trusts Stadium crowd - that Welch demonstrated the operatic qualities of her voice.

There was also a taste of what the talented redhead has in store for fans on her second album with the as-yet-unreleased track Strangeness and Charm.

Welch puts everything into her songs, and by the time she got to Rabbit Heart she seemed to have sung herself a little hoarse.

That didn't stop her from experimenting with the song, shouting some parts, creating effects with the microphone and taking to the keyboards.

Twilight fans had to wait until the encore to hear a slightly whispered version of Heavy In Your Arms and after a raucous version of Kiss with a Fist she seemed to recover her voice to finish on a high with Dog Days are Over.

Florence and the Machine, The Drums and The Naked and Famous
Where: Trusts Stadium
When: Thursday, July 29

*Where you at the gig? What did you think? Post your comments below.

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