Arts Desk

Photos: Florence & the Machine @ Merriweather Post Pavilion

Playing to what appeared to be a nearly capacity crowd at one of Merriweather's last shows of the season, Florence and the Machine delivered an inconsistent performance last night that highlighted just how difficult it must be to pull off some of their songs in a live setting.

The band's albums, in particular the recent Ceremonials, are so heavily layered and produced that live versions of the songs inevitably sound somewhat stripped-down. Given frontwoman Florence Welch's rather incredible voice, this doesn't have to be a bad thing, but last night, the pieces didn't quite fall into place. Almost all of the songs sounded less powerful live compared to their studio counterparts. One can only hope that it was an off night rather than a sign that the band hasn't yet discovered the best way to translate its songs into a memorable live act.

Full slideshow here.

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  • Um, No

    Oh Brandon, you silly, unfortunate person. The show was amazing and if anything it sounded even more incredible than she does on the albums, which is a rare feat.

    Your opinion is bad and you should feel bad.

  • Ditto on Um, No

    They've figured it out just fine. Who actually goes to shows and expects to hear exactly what's on the album with no deviation? You need a trip into the Youtubes to watch the scabillions of FATM live clips. They tour constantly, and vary their shows almost every single performance. Look for the clip of Shake it Out at Lollapalooza.
    Yes. You should feel very very bad.

  • Laura

    Couldn't disagree with the author of this article more. Florence killed it. Spectacular albums, spectacular live performance.

  • Troy

    This is pathetic.

  • Whoa.

    Florence's performance was incredible, clearly something's wrong with your ears. I don't see how she could've improved her show, she left the audience captivated with her voice, or at least me anyway.

  • SJ McMahon

    Florence's performance was indeed incredible. I loved the concert. However, there's nothing pathetic, bad, or inaccurate about this brief review. She and her back-up singers were clearly at cross-purposes for the first song of the show and there were a couple of points at which it seemed like they couldn't hear each other very well. There were also a couple of points at which Florence's pitch was slightly off. I don't mean the times when she sang differently from the recorded version - that's expected, and adds interest to a show. I mean there were times when she had pitch issues. She sustained a vocal injury earlier this year, and for all I know, she's still recovering from that. I'm not slamming her here in any way, just noting observations. As the show went on, everything seemed to come together and they stopped having glitches.

    Florence Welch has about five thousand tons of charisma, a gorgeous, powerful voice, and poured her heart into the performance, going out of her way to connect to the audience. I'm very, very glad I got to see her. I don't think I need to ignore the places where the concert fell short, however.

  • Um, No

    Sorry SJ, but EVERYTHING is wrong with this review. Brandon apparently believes that "almost all of the songs sounded less powerful" and it was an "off night." Categorically, undeniably, WRONG. You even agree with it, since you loved the concert! He wasn't arguing that there was one moment where Florence wasn't actually a perfect robot and her pitch was slightly off. He is saying that the concert wasn't that great and the band had an off night. He is CLOWNSHOES with that opinion, and you are defending a point that exactly no commenter before you had made. Reading comprehension, please get some. This review sucked, Brandon sucks, and the Florence and the Machine concert that I attended on September 19, 2012 was one of the best concerts I've ever been to, and I hope anyone reading this that may not be familiar with the band either attends a show or downloads the albums immediately.

  • Laura

    I have to agree with the reviewer... Let me just say, Florence is amazing, and the concert energy was amazing... but as a fellow singer, I could tell she was struggling that night. Not sure if it was because she had a cold, or she couldn't hear her musicians properly... Her backup singers did a lot of the heavy lifting with the melodies, and I saw her back off the high notes or change things up to avoid them. And there were a lot of instances where she was very off pitch. Don't get me wrong, it was still a great night -- the lady is one of my heroes -- but I don't think anybody should bad mouth the reviewer for telling the truth!

  • Some worktops dude

    She's amazing live normally. I think hating on reviewers for just doing their jobs is a bit much though.