Tag Archives: Florence and the Machine


Maggie Rogers Returns to The Bowery Ballroom as a Performer

April 12th, 2017

Maggie Rogers – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2017

Maggie Rogers – The Bowery Ballroom – April 11, 2017
When Pharrell takes an eye to an artist (and I’m not talking about his stint on The Voice), ears perk up. The celeb producer was enchanted by American songwriter Maggie Rogers’ track “Alaska” while teaching a master class at NYU last summer. Her anticipated EP, That the Light Is Fading, released back in February layers Rogers’ folk sensibilities with newly examined dance tempos she acquired living abroad. Rogers has the swagger of an Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso) and the hymnal quality of Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine). Last night at The Bowery Ballroom, the first of two sold-out New York City shows, the singer-songwriter took center stage donning a custom white denim suit designed by Christian Joy. The room was filled with the chirping of crickets as Rogers opened with “Color Song” and her frenetic dance moves were unleashed.

After the dance-pop track “Dog Years,” the recent graduate offered a slow jam written for a crush entitled “Say It.” Wise beyond her years, Rogers pensively acknowledged not only how much has changed for her in the past year, but also the world itself. “Global grief hangs heavy as summer heat,” the first lines of “Hashtag,” rang especially true for the sunny front earlier in the day and the current political climate. She revealed that “Little Joys” was the first song she wrote in NYC and admitted the opening was inspired by Sharon Van Etten. Light on the material, a cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” was reimagined with dance beats ebbing and flowing into the folk-rock classic.

Before the final song, Rogers became teary and choked up recounting the times she had previously been to The Bowery Ballroom as an audience member. She pulled herself together, saying, “I really love making music,” and culminated the evening with the track that had left Pharrell virtually speechless. No longer a fledgling songwriter, the world awaits the next chapter of Ms. Maggie Rogers. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


The Staves Build Bridges at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday

March 13th, 2017

The Staves – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 10, 2017


As youngsters in England, Emily, Jessica and Camilla Staveley-Taylor learned guitar from their father and sang heavy folk melodies at the local pub, which has bloomed into something bigger. Their sweet sisterly harmonies have earned the Staves opening slots for the Civil Wars, Bon Iver and Florence and the Machine. The siblings formed such a strong friendship with Justin Vernon that the Bon Iver frontman produced their last album, If I Was. Playing at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night, the first of two sold-out weekend shows in Brooklyn, the sisters were a lovely respite after the morning’s snowfall. Don Henley’s “The Boys of Summer” introduced the ladies—and drummer Dave Power—to the stage. The show began with Camilla on ukulele for “Blood I Bled,” while Jessica, on guitar, and Emily, behind keys, offered backing vocals.

Opener Mikaela Davis added harp on the breakup song “No Me, No You, No More” as Jessica’s elfin vocals rang across the room. Midway through the set, when Emily and Camilla needed to swap stage positions, Jessica stalled with some light conversation about Gilmore Girls, which the band had been watching on the bus. This sent the crowd into a tizzy with shouts of “Team Jess,” but it was the sisters’ critical takes on the character Rory as “a nause” (an English term of annoyance) that elicited cheers. Vernon’s influences were obvious once everyone was in the right place and Camilla created an echo chamber with a series of vocal loops on “Train Tracks,” similar to those on Bon Iver songs. The skip-hop cadence of “Black & White” perked up fans and grew for the anthemic “Tired as Fuck” as crowd members clapped along to Camilla’s languid delivery. An encore was inevitable and Davis returned again for a dreaming acoustic cover of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago.” Jessica prefaced the final song, “Mexico,” with “Don’t build walls, let’s build bridges.” —Sharlene Chiu


Esperanza Spalding Brings Acclaimed New Music to the Apollo Theater

April 13th, 2016

The deck was stacked against her. The Best New Artist Grammy had never before been awarded to a jazz artist. Plus Bieber Fever was in full effect, and it wasn’t just Justin Bieber—all of the other nominees, Drake, Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons, were inarguably more famous than she. But nevertheless, 26-year-old Portland, Ore., native Esperanza Spalding strode up to the podium to collect her award in 2011. By that point, she’d already been playing music for more than 20 years. Spurred on by seeing Yo-Yo Ma play the cello on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood when she was just four, the precocious Spalding took up the violin when she was five. Not content with one instrument, she next conquered the oboe and clarinet before discovering the upright bass in high school. And if all of that weren’t enough, the talented performer began writing lyrics, and she could sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish. After spending time at Berklee College of Music, Spalding began touring in support of other musicians. And then upon graduation, she started teaching at the famed music school and recording her own albums. The third, Chamber Music Society (stream it below), caught people’s attention, eventually netting her that surprise Grammy. But it’s been her sixth studio full-length, Emily’s D+Evolution (stream it below), out last month, that’s returned Spalding (above, performing “Good Lava” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) to the spotlight, winning nearly universal praise. “Esperanza Spalding’s new recording, Emily’s D+Evolution, is an astonishing beauty, a set of a dozen songs that artfully and persuasively bridge genres. It is simultaneously the most forward work of the singer and bass player in the way it combines her musical influences with coherent and powerful lyrics and a project that feels rooted in a 1970s sensibility—reminding us of a time when pop, soul, jazz, rock, and singer-songwriter tradition were in constant dialogue,” according to PopMatters. “Because Spalding’s individual strengths as a fleet singer and superb instrumentalist are so perfectly set in these songs, they do not sound like throwbacks, however. Emily’s D+Evolution is a recording only Spalding could have made, and it shouts with invention, confidence and style.” Currently working her way down the East Coast, Spalding plays the world-famous Apollo Theater tomorrow night.


Aurora Stuns Rough Trade NYC with Gracious Talent

May 28th, 2015

Aurora – Rough Trade NYC – May 27, 2015

If one word were to come to mind upon seeing Aurora play her first headlining NYC show, it would be precocious. And if two words were to come to mind, they’d be Kate Bush. Four words: Florence and the Machine. The 18-year old wunderkind, Aurora Aksnes, who goes simply by her first name, brought all the trappings of youth beyond its years—her excellence both uncanny and inexplicable, begetting manifold musings of what the hell it was you were doing at that age, how little you knew or could do then, how little you know or do now. Of course, youthful talent does this to us all, reminds us of our irrelevance, our incompetence. The audience arrived at Rough Trade NYC last night to witness an event, surely, but also to experience the grave and exciting shame that it is to see an 18 year old peek from beneath her blonde hair at a room filled with strangers from across the world.

Opening the show with her arms crossed in front of her torso, Aurora cast the figure of a daunted farm girl, belying her intensity. Relying heavily on water imagery, the vagaries of symbolic suicides, Aurora and her band played “Runaway” and “Awakening,” the latter of which must hold a Kate Chopin reference point. But it wasn’t all fatalism. The singer looked out into the stage lights, expressing her gratitude, saying, “It’s quite weird to play in the States—having people come to your show—it’s quite nice.” The crowd hushed to the sound of Aurora’s dulcet and powerful vocals as she sang a cover of “Mr. Tambourine Man” accompanied only by an acoustic guitar.

The set’s closing movement contained her best songs, “Under Stars,” the stunning “Running with the Wolves” and an untitled one that sounded so much like first-album Florence and the Machine that it should warm the hearts of Aurora’s label, Glassnote. She closed her set with a shivering rendition of Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” and a member of the audience summed up what everyone else felt with an audible and breathless “Oh, shit” at the song’s conclusion. Aurora had suitably embarrassed us all, willingly, graciously. —Geoff Nelson | @32feet


Florence and the Machine – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 5, 2015

May 6th, 2015

Florence and the Machine - Music Hall of Williamsburg - May 5, 2015

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


The Sky Is the Limit

December 17th, 2012

Haim – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 15, 2012

“This is the best birthday I will ever have in my life,” Alana Haim told Saturday’s sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg crowd. It was her 21st, and she still hadn’t had her first legal drink. Along with playing guitar and keys, she’s the baby of Haim. “I don’t think I could breathe without everyone on this stage,” she later revealed. “Everyone on this stage” included oldest sister Este (bass and vocals) and middle sister Danielle (lead guitar and vocals). And with drummer Dash Hutton, they played the best show I’ve seen all year.

Haim’s destiny seems almost preordained. Their parents (known as “Mama and Papa Haim” by the sisters) were both musicians—Mama played acoustic guitar and sang while Papa was a drummer. For 10 years, the Haim sisters played in a cover band, Rockinhaim, with their parents. This experience proved integral to their development as accomplished musicians in their own right. (Este studied Brazilian music and percussion at UCLA, and Danielle has toured with Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas.) And it brought them all so close together that, to this day, Haim still bring Mama and Papa on tour with them.

This grounding influence readily appears onstage in a couple of ways. First, they’re incredibly comfortable under the lights. Este, Danielle and Alana are witty, charming and hilarious, and they banter like friends entertaining guests. Second, their live show absolutely rocks. Their two outstanding EPs display a penchant for electro pop, and live, they seamlessly blend classic rock, ’80s pop, country and rockabilly. They’ve opened for such diverse acts as Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine and No Age. Danielle especially impresses on vocals and guitar. She channels her inner Melissa Etheridge and shreds on her Gibson SG, the iconic axe used by legendary lead guitar players like Angus Young and Derek Trucks. Although stylistically, she sounds more like David Gilmour, picking and choosing each note with deliberate care.

But in the end, it was Alana’s night. And before they played what happened to be their first ever encore, Mama handed Alana a cupcake lit by a leftover menorah candle, and the family led the crowd in a verse of “Happy Birthday.” “It’s officially Alanukah!” announced Mama. Alana closed her eyes for a few seconds to conjure a wish. And after she blew out the candles, the band became Rockinhaim, playing a stunning rendition of “Mustang Sally,” with Mama impressing on lead vocals and Papa banging a heavily funky beat. Though we’ll never know what it was, Alana’s wish will almost certainly comes true: For this band, the sky is the limit. —Alex Kapelman



A Simian Mobile Dance Party Comes to Webster Hall

December 5th, 2012

James Ford and Jas Shaw were already part of the experimental-electronic band Simian, but, with shared interest in electronic dance music, they wanted something more. So they left the original group to form the electronic-music duo Simian Mobile Disco. As DJs and producers, Ford and Shaw are also known for their remix work (together and individually) with groups like Arctic Monkeys, Muse and Florence and the Machine. Their first LP, the subtle but energetic Attack Decay Sustain Release, came out in 2007 and was very well received. Simian Mobile Disco have remained busy ever since: Their third album, Unpatterns (stream it below), was released earlier this year, and tomorrow night they bring their dance party to Webster Hall.


Florence + the Machine – Radio City Music Hall – May 8, 2012

May 9th, 2012

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


Florence and the Machine – Terminal 5 – November 2, 2010

November 3rd, 2010

Florence and The Machine - Terminal 5 - Nov 2 2010

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | www.gregggreenwood.com


An Extra Chance to See Florence and the Machine

August 19th, 2010

Back in April, Florence Welch thrilled the sold-out crowd at Terminal 5 so much so that she’s returning to town to play the venue twice, on November 1st and 2nd. But you won’t have to wait that long to get your fix of the bluesy redhead with a big voice because Florence and the Machine will be performing “Dog Days Are Over” at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, September 12th). The song’s video is nominated for Video of the Year and Best Rock Video. Welch, an enthralling live performer, says the song is about “chaotic freedom and running really, really fast with your eyes closed.” Decide for yourself: Check out Florence and the Machine, above, in the video and, below, playing the song on the English show Live on Alan Carr.


The Greats Are Great, Even When They’re Not

April 12th, 2010

Florence and the Machine – Terminal 5 – April 9, 2010

Florence Welch strutted to the stage dressed in a flowing white camisole, evoking something like a deconstructed swan, equally beautiful and breaking. Her knobby knees attached to skinny legs attached to high heels, which click-clacked to the microphone in front of a sold-out Terminal 5 packed with people who had come to see this tiny girl with the enormous pipes. Her performance would prove more workmanlike than mercurial, battling a worn-out voice through songs designed for her normally fighter-plane vocals. But like all the greats, Welch would not quietly bow to the wear of the road. Instead, we saw a different woman, profoundly animated, willing to work with us and through the night.

For clarity’s sake, saying Welch was “battling a worn-out voice” is roughly analogous to saying you stayed in the shittiest five-star hotel in Monte Carlo. She has push-you-back-in-your-seat, dunk-from-the-foul-line, big-enough-to-sink-this-city ability. Early in the night on “Kiss with a Fist,” the singer colored the domestic-violence metaphors by testing the top of her range in the song’s final third. Moving through album-stunners “Coffins” and “Between Two Lungs,” she eased off the throttle, while pointing and gesturing at the first few rows of people. It only became clear how much of a vocal struggle Welch was engaged in when she altered the melody on “Drumming Song.” Not coincidentally, the song’s centerpiece was a stunning breakdown where Welch, heels off now, skipped through the middle of the stage while barking an improvised second movement. The greats are great, even when they’re not.

Before “Cosmic Love,” Welch mentioned that she had some family in the audience. Of course this lead to a final denouement where the crowd insisted on being dubbed family, too. She raised her glass to us, and a thousand people raised their digital cameras in return. After closing with a carbonated “Dog Days Are Over,” Welch returned for an encore of “You’ve Got the Love” and “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).” In one of the last lyrics of the night, she wailed into the dark: “This is a gift/ It comes with a price.” A song about animal sacrifice could have been no more appropriate for the tiny woman who stayed long after her band left to bow, wave and thank the people who came to see her. —Geoff Nelson


Win Free Tickets to See Florence and the Machine on 4/9

April 6th, 2010


Florence and the Machine play a sold-out show at Terminal 5 on Friday. But even if you don’t have tickets, you can still try to Grow a Pair from The House List. Want to go? It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, including your name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Florence and the Machine, 4/9) and a brief message explaining your favorite part of this week—Easter, Opening Day or the NCAA championship. Eddie Bruiser, a baseball guy, will notify the winner on Friday. Good luck.

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One of a Kind

October 28th, 2009

Florence and the Machine – The Bowery Ballroom – October 27, 2009

Florence and the Machine
Watching Florence Welch sing is like watching any number of acts, absurd in their direction, scope and control. She is a dunk from the foul line, a release of water held furtively behind a dam, the climactic scene of Scent of a Woman. She is mind-blowing. In fact, she may directly oppose every visual metaphor in this paragraph. She is like the Grand Canyon: You’ve either seen it up close, or you haven’t.

Dressed in flowing white, Welch spilled to the stage with her black-clad band, the Machine. Opening with “Two Lungs,” Welch exploded into the chorus. She didn’t need all of the considerable orchestra, including the harp, to vibrate the floor of a completely packed Bowery Ballroom. With the Island Records crew stuffed into the balcony, Welch flitted around the stage, pushing her elbows back and popping her chest out like some mechanical and delicate bird. She repeatedly pointed at us, directly, to emphasize elements of her story, only to cover a smile with her hand. She is emphatic and wilting, if these two things are possible at once.

Welch referring to herself as “Flo,” sang almost every song on her album, Lungs. “Drumming Song” was predictably tribal and elevating, making you think this is the 20-years-later incarnation of Kate Bush. “Cosmic Love” was the best song of the night and closed the set before the encore. Her voice pushed us back in our seats, grabbing the visual to zoom and pan. As much as you try, she is not like anything else. —Geoff Nelson