Glitter shimmers in the warm air, the blanket of heads gathered on the Hydro floor are engulfed by the rich and exciting tones emulating from the stage. Florence and the Machine are grand and impressive, their music serving as a gateway to the awakening of the talent which possesses them.
Having consistently created masterpieces which mature and develop with time, the new album High As Hope offers a fresher sound. An honest and raw approach, the music sprinkled in Florence Welch’s poetic lyricism, her hypnotic voice allowing the space it deserves to create her absorbing and heart wrenching stories.
The Machine always deliver on emotion through their performances, the opportunity to experience them live leaving you with a lasting feeling which carries through into the following days. It is obvious from watching, that each member breathes the rhythms, melodies and vitality of the band. Their commitment bringing life to the anthem like sounds which passionately holds the space of the SSE Hydro in a suspended moment. Always on the pivotal point of descending into a hypnotic cacophony of velvet melodies, the music they create cuts right through and hits you in the chest, a strong and resonating sensation which drowns out any prior thoughts, engaging you in the present.
Welch is a force of nature, her ethereal energy is an intoxicating and addictive element which stirs curiosity and devotion from her fans. Any restraints which threaten to hold her back are destroyed as she sprints and launches herself across the stage, a tangible image of gracefulness and ferocity. Her music is what pulses through her body, and she devotes herself to the creations, accenting her movements and reactions, casting a spell over the awed faces shining in the crowd.
A balance of old and new, Welch and her Machine rewarded their devoted fans with throwbacks to the classics which started the obsessions. Dog Days Are Over and Shake It Out were pleasing reminders of how far the band have travelled, whilst the newer stand out tracks June and End of Love, signified a real growth of the band. Welch crafted meaning into moments, asking her audience to shine their pocket-sized stars during Cosmic Love, creating a luminous and sparkling backdrop for the intricate harp and thundering drums. She implored that people live in the moment, refusing to start the song Dog Days Are Over until all hands had detached from their screens and instead linked with others. She spoke about sharing kindness, her words delicate and moving, calm and humble compared to the commanding, power-driven vocals which effortlessly flow from her mouth.
Choosing not to be constrained by the limits of the stage, Welch rushed into the waiting embraces of her fans, ignoring the panicked security sprinting to catch her sprite-like figure. Dancing and singing with strangers, she communicated her ethos clearly, exclaiming that, at a Florence concert, things are done differently.
Saturday night was a welcome return to the inspiring indie-rock group. An artist who is thankful and compassionate, Welch acknowledged and appreciated every figure who helped fill the venue, conveying that she hasn’t forgotten the people who continue to support her work, her gratitude evident. Her words breathing hope and determination; Welch emphasises the importance of honesty and forgiveness in an unstable, ever-changing world. Florence and the Machine united a room through their music, once again proving that things in life don’t always need to be complicated, and that through speaking, sharing and listening we can each make a difference.
By Charlotte Jane Riley