Is it just me, or is the music scene in the U.S. more exciting when we’re in the midst of a British Invasion? Perhaps my affinity for the Brits is rooted in my ’80s upbringing (Duran Duran, PSB, Yazoo, New Order, Bananarama). But the late ’00s and early ’10s are proving to be just as exciting with imports like Adele, Keane, Lily Allen, Marina & The Diamonds, La Roux, Little Boots and Ellie Goulding. But the Brit with the lungs belongs to Florence Welch — known to most as Florence & The Machine.
“The Machine” refers to her band and long list of collaborators, as well as her loyal and ever-growing legion of fans. And there are reasons there’s a machine behind her: That Voice. The Harp. The Dramatic Crescendos. Quoted as being fascinated with “terror and doom,” Florence draws from dark places and pains from her past in her songwriting. But her songs materialize as beautiful statements of empowerment and love. I’m a bit in awe of this inspiring artist, and I’m so happy she has made her way to New York and a venue fitting her big voice, the cavernous Terminal 5 in Hell’s Kitchen.
The lights dim and The Machine make their way to their many instruments and Florence emerges wearing a fascinating silver, glittery “leotardress” with exaggerated sleeves that occasionally get tangled in her mic stand. So Stevie Nicks! She opens the night with “Howl.” For the next hour or so, she covers most of her debut LP Lungs including the feisty “Kiss With a Fist,” the soaring “My Boy Builds Coffins,” and the poignant, “I’m Not Calling You A Liar.”
My absolute favorite moment was “Between Two Lungs.” Such a gorgeous song, and likely the strongest vocal of the night. I also loved “Cosmic Love.” But it was “Drumming Song” and song-of-the-summer contender “Dog Days Are Over” that truly got the packed house at Terminal 5 bouncing off the walls. She closed the night with her hits “You’ve Got The Love” and “Rabbit Heart.” Raise it up! And so the British invasion continues. If you ever have the chance to see Ms. Flo, you better go!