Florence & the Machine | 7.5.11

The band seemed thrilled to be playing at what must feel like a bar to a group that recently played in front of nearly 20,000 at Bonnaroo, and 60,000 with U2.

 

 The Pageant, St. Louis, MO

Sometimes a show rolls through town that is just irresistible… unfortunately sometimes everyone else also feels that way, causing a band that should probably have at least played the Fox Theatre, to sell out the Pageant in minutes. Florence and the Machine pulled through on their very short tour ,that mostly included opening for the Black Keys and U2, for a headlining set showcasing Florence Welch’s immense vocal talent, and their 2009 breakthrough Between Two Lungs.

Welch was part conductor as she led the band, once with a drumstick in a nice 4/4 motion that would make your band teacher proud, and many other times adding emphasis to beats with said stick on a snare placed at the front. She was also a conductor in the sense that with every held note, twirl, and sprint across the stage electricity seemed to emanate from her much like a teals coil, reaching out and grabbing many in the crowd, often causing child-like squeals of excitement. 

Song choice seemed to matter, though some did seem to hit harder than others. “Drumming Song” was a loving beast that should have pried open ever the most critical early in the night, while “I’m Not Calling You a Liar” was treasured by all and put some focus on Harpist Tom Monger, who would have received much more if not for the radiant Welch. 

There was not much talking to be done on this night, though in her few brief words, Welch declared that someone of her skin tone simply would not be able to survive in St. Louis, and made it well known that the band did in fact hail from the not quite as sunny London, England. The band did show the crowd much appreciation however, and seemed thrilled to be playing at what I can only imagine must feel like a bar to someone that has recently played in front of nearly 20,000 at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, and baseball stadiums with U2.

Closing out with “Dog Day’s Are Over” was anything but a surprise as the track has been featured on essentially every major television network along with 2010s’ Eat, Pray, Love was anything but a subtle choice for set closer, though no one seemed ready to haggle for a b-side. Welch instructed the crowd to jump, and once again seemed to be conducting the maximum capacity 2,300 person crowd into a frenzy of noise, like a perfectly tuned instrument. 

Opener Hanni El Khatib seemingly could have played a slightly longer set given the 45 minute energy killing break in between sets along with his miniscule stage setup. The Los Angeles based singer-songwriter along with drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan brought their mix of garage rock with a pinch of doo-wop to the early arriving crowd. Though most seemed un-phased, which given their near riotous readiness for the headliner was a feat all it’s own.

| Bruce Matlock

 

 

 

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