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Florence & the Machine at the Greek Theatre

 

Posted at 1:00pm, 6/17/2011

It's undeniable that Florence and the Machine have a massive following; on June 12th, the Greek Theatre was a swarming collection of the young, the old, and the hipsters in between; all of whom seemed to be dedicated fans to the band. It's not hard to understand why. Florence's voice, if nothing else, should be enough to garner massive attention in the musical world. The pitch and tonal range that she accomplishes even within each song should be considered truly impressive to anyone who knows anything about music. To the most discerning of ears, Florence's vocals did not falter once as she was twirling and floating across the stage, barefoot, in her Grecian-style green dress. She seemed to grow increasingly comfortable performing for what she said was their biggest crowd ever, making conversation in between songs and appropriately throwing flowers out into the crowd.

The show was cleanly put together and obviously rehearsed, giving a theatrical quality to the theatrical nature of the songs themselves. The show swept progressively into a dramatic climax in which Florence literally made her adoring fans beg for "Dog Days Are Over," arguably the most recognizable of her songs, saving it for the encore amid frantic chants of "dog days" across the amphitheater.

As much can be said for her voice and her performance, however, the musical accompaniment was rather forgettable. Perhaps it is difficult for anything to stand up to the vocals, but eventually the songs began to run together in the green reverberating blur that was Florence. Her "Machine" met her haunting, creative and awe-striking lyrics and vocalization with a rather lackluster showing. They seemed content to allow Florence to sequester their obvious musical talent in order to be her backdrop; with no creative output they were completely replaceable. Florence would do well to drop the act and submit to her pop-stardom instead of hiding behind the fa├žade of a "band." A more collective musical approach from all parties involved could have been truly revolutionary, but Florence is content to stand on her own. Without a little variation in her repertoire, she stands to become a rather forgettable artist in the future despite her obvious talent.

Regardless, the live show is a must for anyone with an inclination for music with its impressive tonality and poeticism. The almost over-production on Lungs (2009) is toned down and gives the songs a more personal quality that Florence and the Machine would do well to stick with. Whether you are a raving fan or rather indifferent, the girl has some serious chops and getting lost in them for an hour can't be anything but enjoyable.

- Kara Henderson



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