Equal parts mysterious to accessible, there are few pop stars on the planet like Florence Welch. Bathed in a spiritual amber glow, the Brighton Centre becomes almost church-like.
Suitably for a Sunday evening show - there is a spiritual feeling that wraps itself around the Brighton Centre
- a sense of togetherness that binds the entire room together. “Its a Sunday night so we’ll keep it as churchlike as possible, but it will be one you can dance in”, Florence promises early in the night.
Here as part of the High As Hope
tour, the fourth album from Florence + The Machine
, it is simply a stunning performance. The deliberately muted style of that record told a tale of an artist who has been through the whirlwind life and now craves a calmness. Opening tonight with the beautiful one-two of ‘June’ and ‘Hunger’, that serenity presented itself. Bathed in a luscious orange glow for much of the show (the lighting engineers deserve all the acclaim possible for an exquisite set), Florence and her eight-piece band looked and sounded magnificent from the very start.
Referencing the venue as being based in Nick Cave’s
spiritual home (“Anything you like about me, I probably got from watching him”), clear lines are drawn between the two. There is that same mutual love and awe between both artist and audience, more than just a belonging, almost a necessity to be close as hands reach out to her throughout. All the dramatic, kinetic dancing and movement that she exudes peaks during old favourite ‘Dog Days Are Over’
, the singer instructing the crowd to put their phones away to be fully in the moment. There is no need for any fancy Jack White-style pouches tonight, as a few thousand obey instantly and without hesitation.
Of the new material, ‘South London Forever’
sound like anthems of the future, while ‘The End Of Love’
resounds in a quiet power. Increasingly confident in her material, there is no place on the setlist for ‘You’ve Got The Love’
, ‘Drumming Song’
amongst many missing familiar faces. But nobody complains, not here and not tonight. This is a church where new hymns are added all the time, a place of spirituality and welcome for all. As gold confetti showers down, a closing ‘Shake It Out’
shakes through the very foundations of the venue. Dawn is coming, and with it, calm returns. Exquisite.
Photography by Jamie MacMillan