Live Review

Florence And The Machine & Golden Silvers, Bloomsbury Ballroom

The moves, the lights, the voice make for something quite formidable.

The Bloomsbury is iconically beautiful. Its art deco lighting hovers high and the interior hangs plush. An old London dancehall with a new lease of life, so it seems, as The Presets ‘Are You The One?’ ruptures out of the pre-show speakers. But even the boys from down under are no match for the chiming and crooning of Gwilym Gold and his keyboard. Together they weave a fairground melody as Golden Silvers are bathed in a pink glow.

As he sings of satin sheets and an almost Motown ballad that makes up ‘Another Universe’, it gets sketchy in a whipped drum roll and frantic effects twist. ‘Magic Touch’ is blessed with Beach Boys harmonies: never before has a song about impotency sounded so profound. It’s quite like the choral moments of Monty Python with a tongue firmly in cheek. The moustachio’d bassist holds the reverent feel, as the frontman Gold evolves their full eclectic nature with jazzy keys and wah-wah pedal.

Drum fills become prosaic in themselves by this point. They have a brief freakout during ‘My Love Is A Seed’ as Doors-like playfulness takes over and the lights dance in sympathy.

Funking and shimmying its way throughout, ‘True Romance’ is full on disco in a varied set, that has the hips engaging and tongues wagging in impressed tones. An increase in popularity has pleasingly done nothing to increase their egos and they modestly thank “Florence’s fans” for supporting them.

Golden Silvers have managed to turn into something quite ELO, sounding deeply lyrical, entertaining and, above all, inventive. Their signature sign-off ‘Arrows of Eros’ begins its sweet melancholia with intensely shrill blasts of synth and the bounceable chorus stretches out with kick drum and bass frivolity. When your first single is this good, it’s no wonder it’ll stick around for a while to come.

For something entirely different – the kind of show that echoes school productions exhaustively rehearsed – the bat wings are out and the ‘artist’ has arrived. Florence is bellowing as though it’s her last breath and she intends on making the most of it: harps, cellos and a running guitar line make up her Machine.

Her vocal blasts are tuned and strong with the diva inside not holding back on ‘For You’. Lungs almighty, she still finds breath to introduce ‘Girl With One Eye’. The jazz overtones coupled with a murderous under carpet makes her one slinky cat with some kind of crazy wind machine in her hair. She yelps a Muslim wedding scream with glee.

The moves, the lights, the voice make for something quite formidable. The subtle violence in Florence’s lyrics lend well to theatricality, a realm you can tell she’s very comfortable in. The Machine provide a sturdy backing of stoic drums, but this really is the Flo show.

‘Dog Days’ is hearty, like a call to arms full of energy and soulfully delivered as her voice slides. This is aided by the emphasis of loud and quiet dynamics – from the shake of a tambourine to the whirlwind that is her boisterous break “Run fast for your mothers and fast for your fathers.”

Some interesting samples to the chorus of ‘Raise It Up’, the glockenspiel is then brought out at a pivotal, dance-heavy keys moment, which surprisingly simmers down into hushed whines of “this is a gift”.

Having run herself almost ragged from emoting every line, the encore remains for Florence to take on the big hitters; in the form of her cover of Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’. For all her bluster and strut, Florence is deceivingly likable. An undeniable starlet (one would assume from the age of a toddler), all that remains to be seen is just how high this rouge-headed one will shoot.

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