When you go to a Florence + The Machine show, you know you’re going for more than just the music. The group has three number one albums and countless festival headline performances underneath their belts, so you know that the music is top quality, but the way to describe the atmosphere at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on Monday was more of a show, not a gig.
Opening with ‘June’ and ‘Hunger’, two of the most popular tracks for the latest album High As Hope, it was clear from the off that the last night of their UK tour was going to be a special one. Having already headlined the London O2 Arena (twice), the group could have been a bit tired, as stated by Florence herself. But like always, her limitless energy took centre stage, and Florence danced around as if this was the first show for a year.
Not only is she impossibly full of energy, and manages to keep her breath to sing immaculately, but after just a few songs she has the crowd under her hypnotic spell. Preluding ‘Only If For A Night’, she requested everyone to stand up if they weren’t already and starting gesturing towards the seats upstairs to slowly rise under her command. With the gorgeous, quintessential Florence sound of a harp in the background during this short interlude, it wouldn’t have felt out of place in a Derren Brown show.
Bringing everyone together like that set the tone for the evening – every now and then between songs Florence would say how it’s been a hard couple of years in life in general, but we can all come through it together. There were loads of lovely moments and starting it before a song entitled ‘Only If For A Night’ seemed appropriate. The world is full of hatred, inequality and anger, but at a Florence + The Machine concert those feelings are forgotten about instantly.
Moving from a Derren Brown show towards the sort of quotes you would put in your History essay, a Flo ‘n’ The Mac show can be summed up with one sentence that she said: “A revolution in consciousness starts with the individual.” We’re all of different beliefs, different walks of life, but we all attended this concert and that can unite us. Florence said herself that, despite some of the lyrics in her huge hit ‘Patricia’, there is no “toxic masculinity” in a Florence + The Machine concert. We were all there because we wanted change in the world, and the group’s music is certainly no hindrance to making that happen.
One of the highlights was obviously ‘Dog Days Are Over’, one of those songs that I truly believe will last forever. Every now and then you get some good songs by bands, then you get good songs which still linger at the top of the charts after two months, and then you get legendary tracks. Think ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, think ‘Hey Jude’. Just give it time and ‘Dog Days Are Over’ will be up there, the reaction of the crowd proved that. (Unfortunately, I was unable to capture this moment due to Florence’s request for everyone to put their phones away as the chorus kicked in – preach).
Florence has such an angelic voice, but her Machine play such a big part and so talented also, including guitarist Robert Ackroyd, who has surely got one of the best riffs in music. There are no crunching guitar sounds at a Flo and the Mac gig, few mosh pits (although Florence herself did go into the crowd for a bit, how did she still have the energy?!), but the introduction of guitar in ‘What Kind Of Man’ is one of the greatest moments in their back catalogue.
It was sadly the last night of their UK tour, however I’m sure they’ll be back soon. With such uplifting music, empowering vocals and happiness all round, a Florence + The Machine concert is enough to make you believe that the world can turn good again.