top of page

Show Review: Florence + The Machine casts a spell on São Paulo


Florence Welch, frontwoman of Florence + the Machine, wasn’t crowned the Internet’s resident witch for nothing. Live performances of the British indie rock band aren’t simply a concert, they’re more akin to a coven casting a spell with a baroque orchestra and heart-thumping drums backing their incantations.


This literal spell-binding is the only way to describe Florence + the Machine’s performance at Lollapalooza Brasil 2016 in São Paulo’s famed motorsport circuit and venue the Autódromo de Interlagos.

Even the intro to her hour and a half set is magical, with Welch walking onto the stage barefoot and dressed in a gown you’d more likely see in an adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” than in the mid-2000s.

As she raises her arms above her and the crowd roars with delight at the barefoot, Fae queen, the spell is truly cast and even through a computer screen, you can’t help feeling you’ve left this mundane world in favor of the strange and wondrous world Florence + the Machine has crafted into existence over the last decade.

Welch kicks off the show with a dark and stormy rendition of “What the Water Gave Me” from her 2011 album “Ceremonials”. Less than five minutes into the show and the crowd is already eating up Welch and the band’s magnetic energy.

If the opening song wasn’t enough to get the crowd on it’s feet, then their single “Ship to Wreck” from their 2015 album “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” sure does it. Eighties guitars and the half-belting, half-screaming chorus awaken the audience from the dark dream of “What the Water Gave Me” and guitarist Robert Ackroyd saves the band from drowning after the slowed down bridge.

If the first two songs were diving in-and-out of the depths of Welch’s vocals, it’s the baroque, pop anthem “Shake it Out” that rises above the waves, glimmering like the North Star and guiding the band through the storminess of the opening songs. Just watching Welch during “Shake it Out” is simultaneously a workout and a religious experience as she skips, twirls and dances across the stage like Fae queens from Celtic legends. The religiosity of the show is only exemplified when Welch makes the sign of a cross during, “It’s a fine romance, but it’s left me so undone”, and amen to that, Florence.

The crowd is arguably louder than the band during the last chorus, the desperate hope the anthem radiates fueling them and giving new meaning to that feeling of “togetherness” at concerts.

“Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)” and “Delilah” energize the crowd and the band immediately picks up on this magnetism with a stomping piano line, atmospheric horns and a blood warming rhythm section. But, it’s not Welch’s vocals or instrumentals that struck awe for the crowd, but rather her gleeful parade through the crowd, a Celtic goddess walking among joyful humans.

Concert goers were unfortunately, given a reprieve from Welch’s angelic, operatic vocals with a soft rock, moody rendition of her 2012 dance hit “Sweet Nothing” with Calvin Harris.

With a majestic orchestra, the Machine launches into “Queen of Peace” and “No, Light, No Light,” picking up where “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” left off. Welch is a vision tiptoeing and belting across the stage in her Victorian nightgown, crowning Welch as the Queen of Peace and Transcendant Vocals. lacks the vastness of the original rendition.

With an majestic orchestra, the Machine launches into “Queen of Peace” and “No, Light, No Light,” picking up where “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” left off. Welch is a vision tiptoeing and belting across the stage in her Victorian nightgown, crowning Welch as the Queen of Peace and Transcendant Vocals.

It’s the last 25 minutes of the set, though, that amplifies the frenetic energy of the crowd and cement Welch as a powerhouse performer with no signs of stopping. Not a single person in the crowd or on stage is still, everyone either dancing, singing or screaming along to “Spectrum (Say My Name)”, “You’ve Got the Love”, “Dog Days Are Over”, “What Kind of Man” and “Drumming”.

The band plows through each song and the energy multiplies with every passing minute. These last 25 minutes feel like the end of a long night of partying, your energy spent and feet dragging, but the last few songs ending the night in a spectacular conclusion, confetti and all.

Once again, Florence + the Machine weave a tapestry of magic, hope and biblical transcendence with incomparable energy only rivaled by their own concerts over the years. Watching a performance from Florence + the Machine in 2020 is like watching a Celtic ritual of otherworldly grace that fills the dark void we seem to to have found ourselves in, equally timeless and experimental.

What new spell will Welch cast at their next live performance? One of eternal happiness and beauty or one to light the darkness around us? There’s no telling what Welch and the Machine will do next, but we can hope for another religious experience masked as a stellar performance from the band.



Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page