Florence And The Machine At The Wiltern
Florence Welch, the voice and centerpiece of the ensemble Florence and the Machine, performed three sold out shows at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles from Saturday to Monday.
Monday night’s Southland finale was a two-pronged performance of stunning raw vocal talent and theatrical flair. The curtain went up, and there was Florence, center-stage, in a flowing nude-colored gown—with a fan below, gracefully and dramatically blowing its looseness in the wind.
She pounded the standing drum next to her and began singing the lyrics to “Drumming Song,” making it immediately clear that her voice, so bellowing and stunning throughout the entire debut album "Lungs," would translate to an even more striking audio experience live.
And on stage, the audio was teamed with an eye-pleasing scene reflective of her oft-declared inspiration—visual art. Vintage birdcages were used as lamps, rotating floral and neon backdrops covered the Wiltern’s gigantic back wall and various combinations of sparkle, strobe and colored lights bounced across the stage, coordinated to match each song carefully.
One of the more intense moments came during “Blinding,” when Welch put on a white, hooded cape and sang against a pitch-black stage under a strobing spotlight. It was the only song in which she remained relatively still. During all others, she flung her hands in the air like a flamenco dancer, tossed her hair with the thunderous beat of the drums and twirled in elegant circles, all the while maintaining her vocal stamina.
After performing nearly all songs from the album, plus a new song serving as a preview of what’s to come, Florence came out for an encore which concluded with her most recognizable hit, “Dog Days Are Over.” The anthem of new beginnings injected the audience with an even greater frenetic energy than already on display. She encouraged everyone to jump up and down during the final repetition of the song’s chorus, and there were very few who ignored her request. The Wiltern was a sea of happy, bopping heads.
And it wasn’t only the crowd, of course. Welch was bopping, too. There is something inexplicably otherworldly about her onstage persona—and her voice is not far from that description, either. She commanded the attention of Monday’s crowd, exemplifying a presence that seemed much older than her mere 24 years. This old soul maturity and unwavering talent has led to her early success. And if that’s any indication of her career longevity, fans can expect to see Florence, backed by her instrumental Machine, to be twirling across stages for years to come.