Last Wednesday night, UK darling Florence + the Machine graced the Sound Academy with her presence and infinite talent. Despite the miserably cold drizzle outside, the atmosphere in the venue was warm and packed with excitement. After two (entirely too long) opening acts, Florence Welch was greeted on stage at 10:45 p.m. sharp by the relieved screams of her adoring fans.
She opened the show with “Howl” and then went straight into a beautiful, extended version of “The Drumming Song”. From there, she played the more mellow tracks “My Boy Builds Coffins” and “Girl with One Eye”, before launching into “Cosmic Love”, which, after “The Drumming Song”, was the second-best moment of the night. “Blinding” and “You’ve Got the Love” were among the next few tracks she played, both of which translated remarkably well to live. She played the majority of her album and all the songs sounded stellar. Florence had such control over her voice that she sounded virtually flawless throughout the entire set.
The stage design was very minimalistic, save for the gorgeous velvet-looking backdrop that resembled the background on the cover of her critically acclaimed album, Lungs. The venue wasn’t small by any stretch of the imagination, but the feeling of intimacy that she managed to create was truly palpable.
“Strangeness and Charm”, one of her new tracks on what we hope to be a future album, didn’t deviate too far from the classic Florence feel, but it did have a little more sass and snarl, which is never a bad thing.
The regular set closed with “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” and the audience sang their hearts out with her.
When she left the stage, some of the crowd began filing out, but Florence re-took the stage moments later and kicked off the encore with “Heavy in Your Arms”, a track she contributed to the Twilight: Eclipse soundtrack.
She played “Kiss with a Fist” next, with an electric guitar-laden introduction, and ended the evening with her massive hit, “Dog Days Are Over”. Everyone was jumping as per Florence’s ritualistic request (“I do this every night, please join me in this ritual on the count of three!”) and there were hundreds of hands in the air to end the concert on a euphoric high. Her voice was incredibly powerful from start to finish and, without a doubt, it turned even the few who inevitably get dragged along by their friends into devout believers in Florence + The Machine.
In an industry where commercialized pop is the norm, Florence sets herself apart by being true to her craft; she is infinitely talented and carries herself with unparalleled poise and elegance on stage. With her gracefully rigid dancing and wild shakes of fiery red hair, Florence is a flawless performer and Toronto can’t wait to have her back.