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Sunday, 20 September 2009

Florence & The Machine w/The XX @ Bournemouth o2 Academy 18/09/09 LIVE REVIEW

Florence Welch and the Machine haven't failed to amaze any of the crowds which i've been amongst this year (at Glastonbury in June the incessant and unforgivable screams led her to proclaim "We haven't got any more songs! Wait until the next album!") and Bournemouth was no different, despite the crowd starting the night off somewhat subdued. When it came down to it, i heard once again, one of the loudest crowds i've ever heard in my life - and it's not even as if the makeup was mainly screaming 15 year olds, it turned out an even spread of male and female, young and old.

There's just something about Welch's innocence and naiveity as well as her flamboyant fashion sense that just cement a soft spot into so many of her adoring fans - this, of course, coupled with an amazing and incredibly mature singing voice, a solid selection of songs and set of ecletic musicians (harpist!) and the fact that she's come from the honest beginnings of discovery singing motown covers in a London nightclub toilet.

This time, she had to follow much hyped support band The XX (live review) - i'm sure you know how much i love this band), who's downbeat mix of post-punk/RnB and trip-hop left the Bournemouth audience a bit bemused and a bit confused. They nevertheless gave a great, unassuming performance to a totally motionless crowd.

Welch and her band however were given a rapturous reception - there was no acoustic set as there was at Reading Festival for her this time, she gave her all to every song and was note and performance perfect in every sense - her trademark festival move of climbing up the set during opener Kiss With A Fist didn't happen this time, most probably down to the fact the former Bournemouth Opera House didn't actually have much for her to climb on to. The set was small and intimate, and as well as having one of the nicest interiors of any venue in the area - it perfectly matched up to Florence's floral stage decoration and flowing black and gold dress.

It is hard to see where she's really going to go from here in terms of a follow up. Under Island Records Welch has written an album not far from perfect, and with her personality, humour ("this song is a new one - it's called drumming song because... there's a lot of drums at the beginning") and fantastic songwriting, she has (at the risk of sounding cliche) taken the UK music scene absolutely by storm. After one album she gained Mercury Prize, BRIT award and MTV Music Award nominations and scooped the Critics choice, all whilst gaining a number 2 position in the UK album chart and 225,000 nationwide sales.

Florence & The Machine - Hospital Beds (live at London Calling) (MP3)

Florence & The Machine - 'Lungs' OUT NOW (amazon)

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