Concert Review: Florence + The Machine


I must admit, if I had heard a Florence + The Machine song before purchasing my ticket for this show I didn’t know it. This ticket purchase was based solely on the suggestions of others, so I eagerly awaited the presale and snatched up a reasonably priced GA Floor ticket at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic Center, a mid-sized venue that Florence’s Bay Area fans were sure to sell out instantly. With one week between onsale and show date, it didn’t leave me much time to become familiar enough to know the words by heart, but it didn’t matter. Everyone in that week whom I mentioned I was going to see this show seemed jealous. I was heading in fairly blind to an artist that clearly had a very dedicated fanbase.

The crowd on the floor was very different to the usual rock shows I’m used to attending. Primarily young women, I felt a little out of place. But once the lights went out, it didn’t matter who I was. Everyone immediately began singing along to every word with Florence Welch, the bands lead (and half-namesake). The dozens of spotlights focused towards the audience blinded my view momentarily. I closed my eyes and began to listen, focusing on the flowing harp melodies and beating percussion section. Something reminiscent of Phil Spector’s wall-of-sound was forming in my head. I found myself jumping up and down to the beat. I had definitely heard this artist before.


This show was the first in the US for Florence in support of their new album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which will be released in June. The fifth song of the set, the title track from the new album, she mentioned as being inspired by the sky in America. The crowd, still into the new songs, was less enthused to sing along. The band ended their set with their two biggest hits Shake it Out and Dog Days Are Over before returning for the encore. Highlighting two new tracks and one old favorite, the crowd was left with a loving heartfelt thank-you from Florence. As she accepted gifts from the audience and took photos with fan’s iPhones, it was really clear she has great admiration for those that support her music. I’ve been to many shows where it is clearly work to just get the and on stage to perform the same old songs. Not Florence – she was excited to share her new stuff with the eager audience.

So what did I think? Did the show meet my expectations after all the hype? Honestly – I felt it was a solid addition to my concert lineup this year. In a year where I will be seeing a concert lineup straight out of 1984, this gig was bound to stand out. I’m glad I ventured to try a new (to me) artist. In the end, I found myself downloading a few singles and humming along on the way home from the show, my free poster in hand. I guess I’m a bit of a fan now.


About Author

An avid concert-goer and used vinyl connoisseur, Bryan co-founded Tone Critic to share his life-long love of rock and roll in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bryan has been known to see a show "just to experience the venue."

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