By Nathan White (@NathanWhiteNDW)
Florence + The Machine and Of Monster’s and Men.
The first time I heard Florence + the Machine, it was the song Cosmic Love, 3,000 times in a row and not by choice. My housemate wanted to see how long he could play the song before it got old. It was sometime around the second thousandth play that we both realized that if we could listen to it for that long and not hate it, there was something that made it special. It took me a lot less time to realize her Molson Amphitheatre concert was going to be another pleasant surprise.
I can’t talk about the concert without mentioning opening act Of Monsters and Men. Lead vocalist Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir (they are from Iceland in case you couldn’t tell) walked out in what I can only described as white jumpsuit with tassels that had been colored on by a kindergartener. It was great. Of Monster and Men took the stage with a whole troop of people (including a trumpet player, keyboardist, and trombonist, just to name a few). Their backdrop looked like a finely etched Rorschach painting and they used lighting and smoke to enhance the atmosphere.
The visual effects came to life after the sun began to set on the Molson Amphitheater. With the sun fading, the crowd started to pour in and matched Nanna’s energy as she bounced and hopped across the stage. Their set included songs from their last two albums, My Head Is an Animal and Beneath the Skin. I would love to see them again headlining their own show to see what they could really do.
I told you about what Nanna wore, which means I have to tell you about Florence’s pink frilly flowy (sort of see-through) dress. Even when the lights dropped low, you could see the pink silhouette (statuesque or twirling) with the sheen of her red hair giving away the direction of her gaze. Florence is great at connecting with the audience. Some of the loudest cheers were in between sets where she was talking to the crowd. She would also encourage them to put their phones down and get caught up in the moment, and the audience loved it. The excited sold out venue broke out in screams of delight when, half way through a song, she jumped down from the stage and ran through the stands half way up the theatre to finish the song.
I have to admit, I think that encores are weird. The idea of the band walking off the stage just to come back on has always felt awkward. But I will concede that this encore was my favorite part of the performance that night. Whether it was her face-to-face with audience members singing “What Kind of Man”, or the captivating light show, the audience was screaming along. Understanding that this performance is completely rehearsed, it still maintains a spontaneous and fun character that can get lost in a polished set.
This show hit so many marks of a great concert, which is why I’m giving Florence + The Machine 4.5 Radio Humber Mics out of 5.