Jamie Tabberer

Florence + The Machine @ Shepherd's Bush Empire...

...and Flo's dad steals show

Having witnessing Ms. Florence Welch in action, the ghastly title of her (we say ‘her’, when we should say ‘they’, but in that shop-stopping, transparent white chiffon dress she donned last night, it was about one woman only) Mercury Award nominated debut album Lungs starts to make a lot of sense. This woman has an ASTONISHING set of the bloody things.

But being a good singer isn’t as simple as that, is it? Look at Mariah and Christina – if they’d practised restrained vocals from the beginning of their careers, they’d look less po-faced when instructed to do so by their management in the present day.

Florence’s vocals are simply too powerful, the added disadvantage being that her voice isn’t EXACTLY what you’d call (classically) beautiful either. Example: what the hell is the point of playing a few tracks acousticly (harp and all) when Flo’s WMD obliterates every soft sounding instrument in its path?

And as far the bigger numbers…well, we turned up feeling a bit delicate (hung-over, ridden with metaphorical swine flu [also know as chronic hypochondria] contracted earlier that day etc.), and half of Florence’s wails - when paired with the ridiculously bright, apocalyptic light show that verged on terrifying - sent us on the kind of disturbed mental trip last seen in the climax of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But that’s the point isn’t it? We loved it (bet you didn’t see that one coming). The passion with which this woman performs with is organic, heartfelt and awe-inspiring. A couple of duff notes aside, it'll suffice to say that she’s brilliant, this one. On stage, she's completely fearless.

Add to that the fact that last night was the last date of the band’s most recent tour, and all of Florence’s family had turned up (half of them pissed off their faces it seemed – her dad arrived an hour late, before leaning over a balcony and waving, while clutching a bottle of whiskey), and it’s no wonder bitch was so on fire.

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