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Florence and the Machine Live at Mezzanine

By Big Vic SmithAll Photos by Victoria Smith

Florence Welch, of the Brit band Florence and the Machine, has a strong voice that channels Grace Slick. Perhaps feeling the earthy San Francisco vibe, she entered the stage barefoot and in an all white outfit that could have easily been purchased on Haight Street. Another sign of her Grace Slickdom is the bands t-shirts for sale: they have a photo of Florence holding a big white rabbit, an animal Grace Slick epitomized with Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit in 1967.

They chose an unsophisticated band to open for them that would lose an audience around a campfire however the crowd managed to wait in boredom and give Flo a warm welcome. She tiptoe danced around the stage, jumping and belting. The tunes didn't grab me, however her strong voice, milky white skin, slender attractive body and apparent yearning to operate on the peripheral did. Florence seemed to be trying to evoke a mystical spirit. This 23-year-old has the potential if she can get a decent songwriter on board. She will then have the material backing her attitude and talent, leaving no need for tiptoeing. The fans stayed in packed and happy till the end.


  1. "This 23-year-old has the potential if she can get a decent songwriter on board. She will then have the material backing her attitude and talent, leaving no need for tiptoeing."

    Um, you're very much in the minority with that opinion. Her album has garnered near-unanimous rave reviews from critics, many of them rating it as one of the best albums of 2009, as well as fans who helped skyrocket her to the top of the UK charts. So I guess most people feel her music displays her talent adequately enough, and in fact we're hoping for her second album to match up to the first. But you did state in your review that you're not into her songs, so fair enough if you don't like it, but that doesn't necessarily mean it needs any adjustments. And it's nice to have a mainstream female artist writing her own songs, and GOOD songs at that, especially in this day & age when most hire a team of overpaid, mediocre songwriters to write unoriginal, repetitive yet guaranteed chart toppers. But I bet you're one of those people that thinks Lady Gaga is a great songwriter, right? At least Florence's songs have real meaning and real stories behind them (look them up before dismissing them). Florence + The Machine strikes the perfect balance of being mainstream enough to be accessible, yet alternative enough to not be afraid to do something genuinely different with the music and not just go with the flow of what's popular. And Florence is more than just a visual artist, she puts actual depth in her music, while making it fun, enjoyable and most importantly, not pretentious. Oh, and that "tiptoeing" (as you put it) that she does is called stage presence. It's nice to have a performer who neither relies on an unnecessary troupe of backup dancers and lame choreography, nor just stands there behind the safety of a mic stand the entire time and bores the audience to death. The girl knows how to entertain a crowd while remaining true to herself. I can't say that for many musicians today.

  2. I won't speak for Victoria, but for me (David) her comments weren't bashing as much as saying that Florence is still a very budding talent who hasn't completely defined herself. And for the tiptoeing, well--I think it's a metaphor and a story line.

    Maybe you like her written material more than the next or whomever, no one is "right."


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