Florence + the Machine Put on Indelible Fox Theater Show

Cynthia Kang/Photo

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Who is Florence Welch? Whispers throughout the audience threw out terms such as "goddess," "fairy" and "princess." These words may seem like pure, cultish adoration but they surprisingly hit the mark. Clad in a flowing white dress and clutching a rose-adorned mic stand, the lead singer of Florence + the Machine appeared to be an ethereal creature just dropped from another world and delivered an equally enchanting performance at the Fox Theater last Friday night.

But the night did not kick off on a magical note. Florence + the Machine chose to hide out until 10 in the evening, letting their openers attempt to the entertain the crowd. The pounding rhythms of hanni el khatib and the folksy melodies of Grouplove helped to pass the time but both sets were rather short, leaving too much time to stare idly at the ceiling or wander aimlessly about.

Thankfully, the headliner more than made up for the uncomfortably long wait. As the heavy beats of "Drumming Song" blasted across the sound system, velvet curtains swept across the stage to reveal Welch posed next to her trademark ornate drum for a split second before she began to twirl around the stage, conducting the audience with her drumstick.

Florence + the Machine could not have picked a more suitable venue than the Fox Theater. The gothic fairytale theme of their stage setup perfectly coordinated with the elegance of the theater. The floral backdrop and subtle touches, such as glowing light bulbs in bird cages, constructed a portal to an imaginary world, with the mystic Welch as the ruler.

Here's the part where I delve into Welch's expertise as a vocalist. Except her vocals were sadly overshadowed by the off-key warbles of the drunken idiots behind me. And that was how I spent a good hour and a half. Just kidding. Welch does indeed have devoted fans (albeit a bit too devoted) but her voice soared impossibly high above their screechy renditions and she added embellishments of her own. Welch took a lower, throatier approach to the emotionally charged "Girl with One Eye," while "Kiss with a Fist" went the hard rock route with its extended drum intro.

What truly captivated concertgoers was Welch's theatrics. She's not simply a singer. She's also an actress, dancer, musician - the list goes on and on. Welch poured herself into the songs, displaying incredibly strong emotions that paralleled the moods of the tracks; her melancholy performance of the "Twilight" Saga's "Heavy in Your Arms," induced more than its fair share of tears. She constantly offered visual depictions of her music, whether through hand gestures or facial movements. In fact, there was a sense of perpetual motion while she sang, even if it was simply her pounding the drum or leaping over to the keyboard to punch out a few chords.

There was so much talent present in the tall redhead that it was a wonder how her success had not fed her ego the slightest bit. Despite her fans' deafening approval of practically every little motion she made, Welch adopted a modest manner. She let her dramatic facial expressions slip every once in awhile between songs as she blushed and covered her face as if to say "stop it, guys," which only further added to her charm.

Having only one album, Lungs, tucked under their belt, Florence + the Machine made the most of their limited repertoire. Well-known hits such as "You've Got the Love" and "Dog Days are Over" instantly pleased the crowd, while other hidden gems required Welch's enchanting execution to draw out their appeal. But the band introduced a new track from their upcoming album, "Strangeness and Charm," that had everyone fumbling for their video cameras.

By the end of the night, there was no doubt in anyone's mind who Florence Welch really is. Her multifaceted onstage personality inspired the grand conclusion that she is, of course, an enchantress. Casting a spell over the theater with her soaring vocals and charming motions, she was able to take us out of the mundane reality into an eerie but mesmerizing world of coffin-building boys and rabbit-hearted girls. Then, with a blithe wave and a swish of white fabric, she was gone, leaving concertgoers awestruck in her wake.

Rule an imaginary world with Cynthia at [email protected]

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