Dec 5, 2011
Florence and the Machine with Laura Marling at Chicago Theatre on 12/4/11
Special Guest Review by Becca Waterloo (wish I was there!). Read my previous blog entry on Laura Marling for more about the opening act.
As an XRT junkie, over time I’ve noticed the pride Chicago has for sharing the band Florence and the Machine as we have all watched them grow bigger than their following. Many people I know still haven’t heard of them and their fiery headed front singer Florence Welch, but those who do certainly understand the power of the machine.
Her setlist was dominant towards debuting her new album Ceremonials, with “Only if For a Night”, “What the Water Gave Me” (my personal favorite) and “Seven Devils” getting the crowd’s blood flowing in sync with her hair. It only took the first four songs for her to start prancing around, and the first five for her to take her four-inch high heels off. In contrast to her June wardrobe of a flowing mesh green dress to emphasize her earthly demeanor, she wore a similar dress in red to compete with the spirit and passion she has towards performing.
Although I was in the last row of the top balcony in the Chicago Theater, she managed to pull everyone into her performance with personal waves and shouts towards every corner of the space. A fan even made personalized cookies for her and her band members, which she forced her sister to snatch from their backstage room to show off.
The band continued on with older songs from Lungs to make the theater feel nostalgic, with “Cosmic Love”, “Between Two Lungs”, and their most popular roller coaster “Dog Days are Over”. By this time, everyone was standing, clapping, and singing along (all ordered around by Florence, of course.) I noticed Florence’s conversations with the audience would make you forget her unique past as an artist, having been just a young girl found in a pub bathroom singing with her friend. Her classy accent was an excellent filler between each song.
Ceremonials is definitely a more gothic approach compared to their last album, and exploits her set of lungs as well as her six piece band’s wholesome sound. Florence even joked around that “People expect me to come out and be towering over the stage. I’m not 7 foot tall”, although the personality of the band and her vocals make her seem unmatched to her physical stature.
I noted the applause at the end before their encore, realizing that even from the back row, the level of noise was incomparable to other concerts on my repertoire. Their performance was much too quick with a 14 song setlist by the end, but nonetheless a spectacular show.
Written by Becca Waterloo