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By Tiffany Hoagland
There’s a drumming noise inside everyone’s head that started last night during the first of Florence + the Machine’s three sold-out shows at the Wiltern Theatre. No sooner had the red curtain risen than the crowd heard frontwoman Florence Welch’s mighty drumstick fall, commanding absolute attention with her hit song “Drumming,” off her 2009 “Lungs” release. Standing center-stage in an ivory form-fitting dress behind a golden, rose adorned microphone, it was immediately apparent that her stage presence was as engaging as her vocal prowess.
||| Photos by Laurie Scavo
The female-dominated audience was driven to dance as Welch channeled the conviction and the raw emotion of desire and heartbreak. Although there was a noticeable difference in the execution of fan favorites like “Rabbit Heart,” in which the album’s high notes were toned down to mere whispers, “Kiss with a Fist” and “Dog Days are Over” brought back the sassy and playful edge Florence + the Machine is known for.
Twirling with abandon and seemingly possessed by the beat, Welch, at just 24 years old, bleeds the confidence and fervor of a seasoned performer. However, there was an odd disconnect between Welch’s fiery performance and the nearly stagnant set-design that enshrouded her. A little more dynamic art direction could go a long way to enhance her live show.
Although current radio favorite “Hurricane Drunk” was not among the 14-song setlist on opening night, loyal fans hungry for more have just another reason to return for nights two and three. Witnessing the explosive success of Florence + the Machine’s first album in 2009, fans can only be optimistic about the future of this promising new voice.