A Highly Theatrical Display: Florence, machine bring sold-out show to Borgata

Florence and The Machine

Florence and The Machine has little to worry about in the drama department.

Led by its own drama queen Florence Welch - she of the flowing black capes and billowing vocals - the British pop group is performing a highly theatrical showcase of its growing catalog of hits.

The red-headed, pale-skinned Welch, fronting a stained-glass-inspired backdrop and the band clad in all black, commands the stage as if it were a kind of secular pulpit. The group's tour makes a sold-out stop on Saturday, May 12, at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.

Latest Video

"Welch launched into a set best described by a series of adjectives: haunting, theatrical, charming, engaged," Susan Langenhennig writes in the Times-Picayune of the group's May 3 appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Fest.

"Often she appeared to be singing to just one person in the crowd, eyes locked, hand outstretched. Other times, she turned her face to the sky, looking at the clouds, as if seeking divine inspiration."

To Houston Press Critic Nathan Smith, Welch seemed to be channeling another pop priestess, Fleetwood Mac's own witchy woman, Stevie Nicks.

"Welch's dynamic voice morphed effortlessly from a soft lilt to strong, impassioned moans, captivating the capacity crowd beginning with her first note," Smith writes of a May 2 show at the Bayou Music Center in Houston. "There was no question who the star was."

The group's music is more rooted in the moment, with some of its biggest hits tied to movies - "Dog Days Are Over" from the trailer for "Eat Pray Love," "Heavy in Your Arms" from "Twilight Saga: Eclipse" - and other tracks being featured on the TV shows, "Glee," and "Gossip Girl."

The group also has contributed the orchestral-backed "Breath of Life" to the forthcoming film, "Snow White and the Huntsman."

For its current tour, Florence and the Machine has programmed a set largely focused on its 2011 release, "Ceremonials," including such tracks as "What the Water Gave Me" and "Spectrum." But the Houston audience seemed to respond best to songs from its first record, "Lungs," notably "Between Two Lungs" and "Rabbit Heart."

From all accounts, Welch really understands how to work a crowd, never more so than when she revealed to the Houston audience that her mother was an American hailing from Texas.

"Flitting from one side of the stage to the other, Welch's engaging presence shifted from girlish to maternal and back again," Smith writes. "While the spotlight was on, she was everywoman - with the voice of Wonder Woman. The crowd's eyes and ears never left her."


Recommended for you

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.