herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Superwoman Florence hits the right note

The Imperial March might have been a suitable opener. Or maybe the Superman theme. After all, it seems that Florence Welch has been re-watching some of Clark Kent's finest cinematic adventures, deciding once and for all who her real fashion icon should be. It's General Zod, damn it. Without the facial hair. And without footwear, too.

Indeed, when Ms Welch lifts up her gigantic cloak, you half expect the 25-year-old performer to fly away. Sometimes, you wish for it.

Alas, those pesky pogo jumps always end with her feet on the ground. Which isn't always a bad thing. There are, of course, times when everything just ... works. When it all falls right into place and we're presented with something truly memorable. Such as the thunderous Dog Days Are Over -- a moment that begins with Florence speaking to her audience as though they were primary school children and ends with a spine-tingling round of 'who can jump the highest?'

She's a giddy performer -- a feisty rock chick trapped in the mind and body of an airy-fairy pop star. She also looks a little malnourished -- desperately in need of a good meal, or even just a decent night's sleep. But the audience love her. In fact, they love her so much that they'll wait until after she plays the hits (all three or four of them) before making a beeline for the nearest bar.

It's a reasonably tight set from Florence's well-oiled machine. The voice remains extraordinary as ever -- a glorified wail, perhaps, but it does have its moments (Shake It Out and Cosmic Love spring to mind). The whole thing is topped off with a neat setting that could be anything from a church altar to the spaceship she landed from. It's hard to tell.

Still, if anything has paid off, it's the move from cosy theatre surroundings to grander, arena-sized settings -- it suits the voice that little bit more.

The effervescent entertainer isn't quite as irritating as she used to be. Not yet the star that her thousands of followers believe her to be, but she'll get there. Eventually.

HHHII

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