Florence + the Machine @ The House of Blues–Chicago

Photo by Rachel Summers

The seven-hour car ride from Minneapolis to Chicago was well worth the journey to see one of Britain’s most talented artists, Florence and the Machine. As many of you know, I’ve been dying to see FATM ever since I heard “Kiss With A Fist.” When I found out she was only making six or so stops in the U.S. on her Spring/Summer 2010 tour I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Florence Welch appeared fearlessly on stage looking like she was ready for bed, or a sacrifice… in her all black get-up entailing a lace shawl, a loosely fitting lace dress which she paired with black satin shorts that zipped up the back and to top off the outfit, a Finn Andrews-esque hat. If the costume turns you off then her voice will most assuredly turn you back on. Welch has sensational vocals and tucked in her voice box is the ability to do all of those fancy improvised runs most mainstream artists tend to overdo. Welch’s soft exterior is the antithesis of her tortuously beautiful descants that pierces the entire space and shoot directly over the band which was was why opening with “Howl” was the most appropriate to give the crowd a glimpse of what was to come. Then the six- piece Machine played the poppy, upbeat first single off of Lungs, “Kiss With A Fist” which was a big crowd-pleaser.

The Machine was able to accommodate the ferociously boisterous stage presence of Ms. Welch by contributing smartly planned out arrangements and cool harmonies from the drummer, Chris. FATM’s live show didn’t phase them one bit, and just paid serious heed to the studio version of the album. Around mid-set a little known track off of the deluxe edition of Lungs called, “Hardest of Hearts” was played which Florence explained to be one of her favorite songs that didn’t make the cut. For the percussion pushed “Drumming Song” and “Cosmic Love”  the bass player was added to the mix on a smaller drum set, along with Florence on her little-drummer-boy snare placed at center stage.

Luckily, Florence is already a master at the art of the grand pause and she brings a level of drama to the room with her quirky gestures and frantic motions that kept everyone on the edges of their seats straight through to the encore where they played “You’ve Got The Love,” which I managed to capture a pretty good video (please excuse the crazy lady next to me, she was so in love with Florence and made sure everyone around her knew it)  and the show ended on a high note with the help of the crowd, on cult favorite “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).”

I even managed to snag a Set List:

howl
kiss with a fist
hurricane
coffins
lungs
hardest of hearts
drumming song
cosmic love
blinding
ghosts
dog days
got the love
rabbit heart

Written by Rachel Summers

rachel.dustbowl@gmail.com

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