This was the first London date of the Cosmic Love tour. Florence had sold this date out in seconds of going on sale as well as the other two London dates. Taking place on 13th, 14th and 15th May Florence was to play for 9000 fans (3000 over all nights) which was by far the biggest venue she had played in to date. The gig was certainly not one to be this and honestly I don’t think Florence will be able to top this spectacle. I arrived at 3.50pm and there were only 4 people there. I was surprised I hadn’t fallen asleep after having 6 hours sleep after I had landed at Gatwick Airport from Cyprus at 2am. So after 3 hours of waiting the doors finally opened. The one reason why I dislike about HMV Apollo is the fact the doors do not open on time. Everyone went into the main foyer only for the doors to the standing area to be closed. It was annoying because you had a scrum of people round the doors. They said they opened the outside doors so that people could get to the bar. But the people who really want to be at the front wont get a drink where ever they were in the queue outside. Once they had finally opened everyone started to go in. There were plenty of people running to get to the barrier so I decided to do the same because I didn’t want to be standing in a rubbish spot.
Opening the evening was Babe Shadow and they played a set which showcased material off of debut EP Sea Serpents. Honestly they weren’t my cup of tea. Maybe it is a case of hearing more material then they will grow on me. I will most definitely purchase the EP when it is released on 24th May. The second band on the night was Brooklyn based. The Drums are a 4 piece band and they are currently signed to Moshi Moshi which is the same label that Florence is on. Well The Drums set consisted of material from the forthcoming EP and some material from prior releases. If I was to describe the band I would say that they were really energetic. I really enjoyed the set and the presence they had made me want to hear more. I will most definitely see them live again and I am also looking forward to the albums release in June.
Once The Drums had finished the curtain eventually went down. Set up on the stage was Florence’s drum and the harp. I guess everything else was being set up behind the curtain. It did take an awful long while till when the set started. But as soon as the curtain rose at 9.30pm you could understand why. There was a backdrop, Choir and Strings section. It did look stunning. There was also a large mirror ball which rotated to reveal Florence. She then made her way out of the ball onto the stage to sing the opening number which was Howl. This was a brilliant song to open on. Florence gave a tremendous performance of the song and put everything into it. The atmosphere of the crowd had reached fever pitch. After that song it was onto the fast paced My Boy Builds Coffins, the powerful Girl With One Eye and Between Two Lungs which were played one after the other. Drumming Song got a good reception. Its strong, powerful and the way in which the song is sung has a dark tone. Following on was Blinding which was truly spectacular. For the majority of the song Florence had a black shawl on her head while belting it out. There was also strobe lights galore.
Now for I’m Not Calling You A Liar at first it starts off acapella with the string section playing. It then gets stronger when it progresses Florence has incredible vocals and when she held that one note towards the end got the audience cheering. Next was a song which had is London debut and had never been attempted before. The song being Swimming. They thought they would try performing the song because they had the string section. It was a steady paced songs which got a few cheers at the beginning. This was in fact the earliest song written by Florence. The backdrop for Cosmic Love was amazing because it lit up so it looked like stars. The song itself is beautiful and very mellowing. Next on the night was the first outing of Strangeness & Charm which was written in London. Florence said it is about atoms and they have moved from stars to atoms. This song took a while to grow on me as it is completely different from how the first album sounded like. Florence belts it out to deliver a fantastic performance. The choir made it that extra bit special. The penultimate song was You’ve Got The Love which was delivered beautifully. Everyone in the crowd was singing along. Just hearing this song was a real crowd pleaser. It was slow tempo to start off with, the string section was playing then the band came in towards the end. It sounded simply superb. After the song finished Florence introduced the band plus the Florence and the Machine string section and the Florence and the Machine choir (who were only Florence’s choir for the 3 nights).
Rounding off the night was Dog Days. This was a crowd pleaser and everyone started to sing only for Florence to hush everybody as the song hadn’t actually started. This was a powerful end to what was Florence’s best gig to date. During the song she paused and told the crowd she wanted to do something. This was to jump. After a few demonstrations we were ready. As soon as the powerful chorus kicked in everyone jumped in unison. When it was all over the band exit the stage only to come back moments later as the crowd were chanting for a encore. The first song of the encore was Kiss With A Fist and this song oozed energy. Florence was going over to both sides of the stage belting out this song. The crowd joined in as well. The final song was Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) which had everyone jumping up and down during the chorus. Even I was singing along. So after they exited the stage I then made my way outside the venue after witnessing the best Florence gig to date. She has well and truly reached the summit and I don’t think she will be able to top it.
My Boy Builds Coffins
Girl With One Eye
Between Two Lungs
I’m Not Calling You A Liar
Strangeness & Charm
You’ve Got The Love
Dog Days Are Over
Kiss With A Fist
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
OVERALL: This was a truly spectacular gig. One I think Florence will find hard to top. It was nice to hear a new song on the night plus Swimming as well. There were a couple of fainters. Florence wanted everyone to have plenty of water as it was extremely hot. The was even one girl that needed medical assistance. By this I mean she needed to be lifted over the bar then put on a wheely stretcher. Still this was a brilliant night and I look forward to seeing the Somerset House gig.