Florence Welch has the best hair ever. A lovely thick mane of red, she surveys us all politely from underneath its heavy fringe. She also has some gorgeous dresses (tonight’s piece makes her look like a cross between a doll and some raven of doom) and an album of songs like a bag of new indie-soul golddust. What her or her band don’t have tonight is their equipment. None of it. All up in flames. Somewhere on the way to this concert their trailer caught fire and destroyed everything, and assembled on stage is a relatively impressive array of borrowed equipment (including the staple harp). Considering that getting just a coffee in Copenhagen on a Sunday can be a challenge this is no mean feat.
When the stage is uncurtained the lady is apologetic and a bit down about the loss. She explains we might not get the normal type of show, then catches herself, then starts into a soft acoustic -I’m Not Calling You a Liar’ with just a harp and acoustic guitar. We worry initially that this will be it for the evening but resign ourselves to it happily as we have just been punctured in a rather pleasant way by this mighty, soaring voice Ms. Welch throws out of her slender frame. The sound is perfect in this small room and certainly there’s no energy lacking as her voice carries us through -Drumming’ without any more instruments, not even the whiff of a drum. If we were a greedy crowd we would want to hear both this version plus the album version as the full band version is so damn lovable, but no time for love, Dr. Jones. Most of the band, who we had feared the worst for, finally make an appearance and herald in soul time with -Hurricane Drunk’. We’re very glad of the bass and the chorus which has all the assembled sashaying somewhat.
After the tentative, forlorn beginning things are livening up and Florence is encouraging mostly herself and her band (who probably lost some precious equipment) with her thoughts that they are lucky that no-one was injured in their fire. We’re already on-side and as the young lady on keyboards joins us there’s that magical Florence & The Machine wall of sound coming from the stage. Now we see one of Britain’s finest front women get into her stride. That hair is flying all over the place and when singing she’s fanning out her frock, and when not singing she’s dancing like a girl straight out of those dreams about perfect girlfriends. Not to mention the singing; honest, impassioned and damn, damn good. Yes, swoon indeed.
After an impassioned and slightly scary -Bird Song’ the brakes are off and it’s headlong into the really good stuff. Who’d have though a song about coffins would get every ass wiggling but Ms. Welch has a gift indeed. The percussion driven -Cosmic Love’ just pulses through everything in the room, with the most affected air-drumming with scant regard for their neighbours.
We were not left wanting for -Dog Days’ and -You’ve Got The Love’ but it was plain sailing now and we were all in the palm of her hand, the evening’s sad tale of things she lost in the fire left behind. There was quite an amusing moment when Florence catches herself unawares singing ‘Sooner or later in life, the things you love, you lose’ pointing at us then to say we had the love to see her through. Finally to her Alice in Wonderland story which became a single of the year heavyweight. -Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ was ironic for the reason that Ms. Welch didn’t actually raise her voice up to the chorus’ dizzy octave until the very last line. After a gig played on someone else’s instruments and a live salvo of the year’s most uplifting songs, delivered with such joy and delight, we won’t hold that against her.
Photos by Dorthe Mey Jensen