Florence and The Machine + The Golden Silvers @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 22nd May 2009


If I was going to be in a band — I have decided it would definitely be Florence and the Machine
They blew the Academy 2 away on Friday (April 22) with their mix of Indie, hippy Soul, fashionable flair and fun- lovin’ stage frolics.

From the moment you walked in the door there was a real party atmosphere going on with a DJ playing all the best in indie-pop, disco lights and even lasers. It was inevitably going to be a very fun night.


The Golden Silvers set the pace for the night with their quirky 80s beats, 60s Rhodes organ tunes, cowbell flicks and barbershop-style harmonies. I turned to my fiancée while watching them and said, “I really do not know how I am going to describe these guys”, but it was definitely their individuality that the crowd really seemed to enjoy. With further time to ponder, I have concluded that they sound like a mix of We Are Scientists, the Arctic Monkeys, Blur, The Smiths and even a bit of The Animals.
But their 80s geek fashion sense soon lived to its expectations, when they belted out 80s-inspired party songs ‘Arrows of Eros’ and ‘True Romance (True No. 9 Blues)’. The crowd went from listening with avid interest to dancing, bopping their heads and tapping their toes enthusiastically. These songs will definitely be added to my party playlists. While lead singer Gwilym Gold seemed shy to talk to the crowd and would often hide himself behind the mike, their music confidently stood up as punchy, catchy and cool.

The DJ then continued to play more indie party songs while the roadies set up the stage — and set it up they did. For a good 20 minutes they were decorating the stage with flowers, birdcages and big tutu puffballs. The black and almost dingy academy 2 stage was quickly transformed from a dark industrial stage, worthy of a metal band, into a colourful, exotic garden, worthy only of Florence.


Miss Welch came to the stage to a haunting drumbeat before belted out powerful album track ‘Between Two Lungs’. She quickly began to dance and shimmy and shake as the song reached crescendo continuing the party feel of the evening. And boy, did she party!

With a range as high as Alison Goldfrapp, the accent of Kate Nash and the quirkiness of Kate Bush — she danced and laughed and really got the crowd going. She urged the crowd to join in, saying: “I suggest, even encourage crowd surfing”, before moving on to sing ‘My Boy Builds Coffins’ and the energetic ‘Hurricane Drunk’, which she explained was about when your out drinking and see your ex out with another girl. All of this energy and you still have time to enjoy the beauty of the sound of the band’s harp — which really was beautiful. But with the beauty of the harp and the exotic garden stage — she surprises you with this rebellious, aggressive side as she sang ‘Girl With One Eye’, which is about wanting to cut a girl’s eye out for putting her “dirty fingers in my pie”. She is transformed from Kate Bush hippy chick to a badass Juliette Lewis character.


She finally gets to the spine-tingling fabulous song that is ‘Dog Days’ and that is when the party really started. The whole place was dancing and singing and before you knew it she was standing on the crowd barrier and holding hands with smiling fans. Despite her voice breaking at points — she belted out her songs with passion and explained their strong and metaphorical meanings.
She introduced a new B-side called ‘Are You Hurting The One You Love?’, inspired by a domestic violence poster, she had seen and found thought provoking. After finishing the song, which did seem rather repetitive, she revealed she had not yet finished it and so just filled the gaps with ‘sounds’ and so jokingly encouraged the audience to Myspace her with any possible lyrics.

She continued to sing other album tracks ‘Drumming Song’, ‘Howl’, her favourite song ‘Cosmic Love’ and new single ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’. Clearly having a lot of fun, our girl Flo (as I like to now call her), decided to get as many people on the stage with her as she could to join her in singing and dancing to aggressive song ‘Kiss With A Fist’.


You could then see the mischievous glint in her eye as she sauntered away from the stage and climbed onto the crowd barrier before beginning to crowd surf. The crowd were loving it and so was she until her necklace got caught on something and got lost in the crowd.

She returned to the stage a bit flustered and despite looking a bit hurt at losing her chain (and no-one returning it when she asked) — she soon started laughing again and dancing as she went into her last song, an amazing cover of dance classic’ You’ve Got The Love’ by The Source Feat Candi Station.
What a night, if only it had been my birthday.


Set List:
Between Two Lungs
My Boy Builds Coffins
Hurricane Drunk
Girl With One Eye
Dog Days Are Over
Are You Hurting The One You Love? (New Song)
Drumming Song
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
Cosmic Love
Kiss With A Fist
You’ve Got The Love (Cover)

Review – Emma Black
Photos – Ian Dunn

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