Florence and the Machine @ Somerset House 15th July 2010

I arrived at Somerset House pretty early. Well not early early but early enough to be at the front of the queue. Once I got there only 4 people were queueing. They had been there since 12pm. So after that long wait they put out the table so bags could be checked. Thankfully I had a bag I could dispose of. Once the security guards had the green light everyone started to pour in. I got my ticket scanned and went through the gate only to turn round to see that everyone had stopped where the queue was. I was puzzled but I managed to stroll and get to the position I wanted. Supporting this night was Holly Miranda. This was nice because it gave me a taste to what to expect from when I see her at the Westminster Reference Libruary. I really liked the Etta James cover. Once over it was then a wait till the headling act.

After having seen Florence at HMV Apollo back in May I had worried that she had reached her peak. To be honest I was wrong to doubt that. Even though this night wasn’t the spectacle as it was at Hammersmith, but the night was completely different. The songs were completely re shaped compared to the actual physical versions on the album. The first song was Drumming Song and it sounded like it was sung in a lower key compared to the Lungs version. Still it was extremely powerful and was belted out. This time there was drums considering at iTunes there wasn’t. After plenty of screams it was then onto Between Two Lungs. Everyone started clapping along with the song. The slightly dark Girl With One Eye was next and it was a powerful song. Florence then goes to reveal she had never been ice skating at Somerset House. Swimming then was the next song on the night and it is extremely up beat. The fact they now have a string section adds to the feel of the song. The beautiful, slow and mellowing Cosmic Love was backed by Blinding. “This is probably going to be one of our last London shows for a while”. What followed on was new song Strangeness & Charm which gave the audience a taster of what’s to come from the follow up LP. Florence’s vocal range is extraordinary. The song is up beat, chorus is infectious and the use of the choir was incredible. A tremendous performance of Howl was then followed on by My Boy Builds Coffins. The final two songs being the emotional slow paced You’ve Got The Love then Rabbit Heart.

Well You’ve Got The Love got fast paced at the end and there was plenty of jumping up and down. While Rabbit Heart had me singing along. After the band then go offstage only to return minutes later for what would be a three song encore. “I just got a bit really weirdly emotional backstage” Welch said. What followed next was something that had people laughing “It’s a real pleasure playing in my hometown. Well I don’t live in Somerset House, wish I did. Best dressing room we ever had” Florence said. She then went on to reveal the dress that she was wearing was found in the basement of a vintage store and the dress was flood damaged and was then restored for exactly this purpose. “We rescued the dying dress and now it gets to play at Somerset House”. The song which followed on was an acoustic version of I’m Not Calling You A Liar which sounded strong and superb. Heavy In Your Arms was a song I had never heard before. It was the song that featured on the Twilight Eclipse soundtrack. Compared to other material by Florence this song has a different feel to it. The song is a lot stronger and ever so powerful. Florence definitely has a pair of Lungs on her as she belts it out. The finale was Dog Days Are Over and before starting Florence introduced her band then went straight into the song. It was a nice energetic song to end on. Plenty of jumping. Welch demonstrated that to us by saying on the could of three I want you to jump but continuously. This ended what was a overwhelming night and the heavens opened during Dog Days (just like my friend predicted). This was just a short shower not a full on lashing of rain. The set finished at 11pm and after I made my way straight to the station to go home.

SET LIST

Drumming Song
Between Two Lungs
Girl With One Eye
Swimming
Cosmic Love
Blinding
Strangeness And Charm
Howl
My Boy Builds Coffins
You’ve Got The Love
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

ENCORE

I’m Not Calling You A Liar
Heavy In Your Arms
Dog Days Are Over

OVERALL: This night at Somerset House was brilliant. The was something special in the air and everyone was having a good time. You could easily tell that this was extremely overwhelming for Florence. “I don’t know what to say” she said before one song. I had said Hammersmith would be hard to top and honestly I think Florence raised the bar higher. Yes the way Hammersmith was structured was incredible compared to Somerset. But Somerset House was special because the songs were reshaped compared to the version you have on the CD. The dress was nice considering it had been fixed for this occasion. This was the only Florence gig I have been to when she has been bare footed during the whole set. It was a wonderful night and there was bundles of energy in the performance. Welch even stood on top of the speakers right in front of the stage. With this being the last London gig for a while she definitely signed off in style. A mention has to go to the support Holly Miranda. Now I went into the gig not knowing anything about her music that she plays. But I actually quite enjoyed it and I would most definitely like to hear more from her in the future.

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