Live Review: Florence And The Machine – Channel V Secret Gig – Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney (24.07.15)

When it’s Splendour In The Grass time of the year we’re often graced with phenomenal sideshows. Or in this case bonus promotional super secret gigs put on by the awesome Channel [v]. And this one was no exception, the dreamy Florence + The Machine were to perform a short set for us at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, right on the tip of the Botanic Gardens jutting out into the Sydney Harbour. News having reached punters ears earlier in the day that Florence would be returning to our shores in November for an arena tour.

The moment the crowd caught sight of her flowing floral pantsuit there were cheers and squeals of delight. Florence Welch and her bandmates popped onstage and were underway quicksmart. Opening the set with ‘Ship To Wreck’ off her latest album How Big How Blue How Beautiful it was immediate that almost everybody there was familiar with this song. With a minimal pause after the song’s completion she then launches into ‘Shake It Out’ and this song has such a wonderful minimal airy feel when performed acoustically. To add to it, Florence conducts the crowd as her makeshift choir, waving her fingers through the air as we sing along.

The gorgeous winter day, the sunshine, the stunning location brought out the best in everybody that was there, including Florence who was all giggles and smiles. Even when she flusters the next song or gets distracted by a car horn tooting in the distance, all she can do is barely contain her laughter at her fluff ups and her bandmates mistakes as they try to properly start ‘Queen Of Peace’, She then follows up with another new album track in ‘What Kind of Man’. She closes out the set with ‘Dog Days Are Over’ which gets a rousing crowd clap along and you can hear everybody in the audience singing (albeit mostly off key) and her smiles are enormous.

Even though she was supposed to end there, the crowd was restless for another, chanting her name and calling for an encore. So they return to the stage and play ‘Only If For A Night’ and it’s spine-tingly haunting and striking. I think the only way that set could’ve been any more magical was with a proper light show and production and about 15 more songs but what a setting and we were spoilt at the intimacy of it. Like having her play for our own little picnic on the hill.

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Florence + The Machine will be performing at Splendour In The Grass this weekend, and returning to Australia in November for a proper arena tour. For more information about her ‘How Big Tour’ check out Chugg Entertainment’s website. They’ll also be headlining Lollapalooza in Chicago next weekend – and look out for our live coverage from both festivals.

Catch this performance of Florence + The Machine on channel [v] on Sunday 26 July at 1:00pm AEST on Foxtel.

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Carina Nilma

Office lackey day-job. Journalist for The AU Review night-job. Emotionally invested fangirl.

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