Apple Music Festival 2015: Florence + the Machine at the Roundhouse
There is no freer spirit in the realm of popular music right now than Florence Welch. She skips, floats, or even glides (her typical stage traversal can perhaps be described only as a combination of all three) barefoot around the Apple Music Festival stage during her opener What the Water Gave Me, greeting each portion of her audience. There is a frank openness about her initial presence that continues throughout the performance; one feels as though she must truly be experiencing the precise emotion that she is attempting to portray at any given moment.
The assortment of musicians behind Florence really do resemble her machine – and a well-oiled one at that. Ranging from electronic to acoustic, synth to harp, the effect is a triumph of live music-making. With such an array of instruments, a fantastic scope of textures is available to the band, allowing them to thin it right out with the mellow Long & Lost or build a rousing wall of sound for Ship to Wreck. The backing singers even morph into a mini brass ensemble at opportune moments, blasting out stirring block chords in the epic How Big How Blue How Beautiful.
“Can you be our choir?” asks Florence of her adoring audience before hit song Shake It Out. The response is overwhelmingly positive, with the lead singer conducting the fans through the chorus. Florence’s ability to connect with and involve her audience is remarkable, and without even being asked the crowd breaks into song after she announces it’s her loyal dad’s birthday – “Happy Birthday Florence’s Daa-ad” – creating a genuinely heartwarming moment as a clearly pride-filled father stands and humbly receives his huge ovation. Florence then produces a literally spine-tingling scene as she stands up over the barriers during Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) – eyes closed, as though in a musical trance – and allows herself to be semi-engulfed by the scrabbling front row, while still managing to propel her wonderfully unique vocals out into the hazy Roundhouse.
Yet the most memorable scene of all is still to come: brightly back-lit so that her drooping sleeves form the silhouette of an angel, the singer performs a surreal dance consisting of suddenly striking poses in perfect synchronisation with her band. Only Florence Welch could have pulled off such a thrilling effect, and only Florence + the Machine could have pulled off such an extraordinary night.
For further information about Florence + the Machine and future events click here.
Apple Music Festival 2015 is on at the Roundhouse until 28th September 2015, for further information visit here.
Watch the video for Shake It Out here: