Review: Florence and the Machine

Emma LeeSinger Florence Welch has come an astoundingly long way in little over a year. Not long ago she was bottom of the bill on an NME tour showcasing up and coming music acts.Emma Lee

Florence and the Machine

Obelisk Arena

Singer Florence Welch has come an astoundingly long way in little over a year. Not long ago she was bottom of the bill on an NME tour showcasing up and coming music acts.

Now she's got a top 10 album, top 10 singles, nominations for every award going (and she took home a Brit), and now this, her first festival headlining slot.


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Not bad for something that started off as 'a private joke that got out of hand'.

She famously got her break when she approached Queens of Noize DJ Mairead Nash in a club and belted out Something's Got A Hold On Me by Etta James at her.

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The rest is history.

There's no-one around at the moment quite like Florence - you'd love her to turn up at an X Factor audition, just to see Simon Cowell's confused face.

She lives in an ethereal, intriguing, slightly spooky world and she seems somehow older than her years - she's only in her early 20s.

And then there's the voice.

It's powerful, yet fragile at the same time.

Her set opened with the tribal beats of Drumming Song, and she whirled around the stage like a ballerina in a jewellery box as she belted out hit after hit: Cosmic Love, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) and her ubiquitous cover version of You Got The Love.

Her songs have so much drama packed in to then, both lyrically and musically (she drops in a piercing scream when you least expect it) you feel quite emotionally drained listening to them at times.

It was definitely a set of contradictions. One moment, there was a tense drama unfolding, the next, the crowd were joining a Happy Birthday singalong for Florence's sister.

Ending the show with Dog Days Are Over, with a massive synchronised pogo from the crowd, Florence had delivered a master class in how to be a modern pop star.

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