The Midland was an amazing center of gravity last night as the sold out The Night the Buzz Stole Xmas show filled the auditorium with hordes of ladies with their girlfriends in toe and boyfriends (most likely dragged along). The atmosphere started off reposed and gradually grew to a state of frenzied ecstasy when Florence took the stage. She opened with “Only If For A Night” the opening track off her sophomore album Ceremonials. The song was on target as most have never spent an evening with Florence Welch and might not again as she hails from London.
The stage was filled with many contributors to the show. She comes loaded with two back up singers, a harp, two drummers, keyboards, guitars and one ethereal voice that cannot be ignored. Despite all of this on stage, no one can pull their eyes from Florence and her flowy red dress that blows in the wind. Once Florence removed the 5 inch stilettos, the show really kicked into gear with Flo running back and forth on stage from side to side with a smile as large as the stage she pranced on.
“The Dog Days Are Over” was the first song that sent the crowd into an uncontrolled state of delirium. This was mostly due to the fact that most of the crowd are still infatuated with her first album, Lungs. That’s not to say they didn’t enjoy the new songs as many in the crowd knew every word to those as well. “Seven Devils” was one of those said songs that comes off a hundred times better live than on the album. There are just so many elements that make this song tick that being able to see every instrument hard at work with Florence helps to build a world in which the songs can live.
The 25 year old Florence Welch is certainly an icon to watch and attending this show last night might have been the last chance to see such a powerful voice in an intimate setting. Her fame is steadily growing as the first time I saw her this summer was in an auditorium that held approximately 1000 people. The Midland’s capacity of 3000 was met easily last night.
With such an epic voice, each song comes across with such heart and backbone that it won’t simply sit with you after the show and be content. In fact, I can guarantee her voice is resonating through thousands of heads even now. She has been compared with Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and even Stevie Nicks (dance moves and all). Although I whole-heartedly agree with the Stevie comparison, the other voices don’t hold a candle to Florence’s. If you haven’t spent some time with Florence, I am urging you to find her two albums, available now, and start singing along in preparation for her return to what is sure to be the biggest arena they can put her in.
Opening for the night was Kansas City’s own Cowboy Indian Bear. Self-proclaimed folk pop from Lawrence, the band was well received by the Florence crowd. Although their music might not be recommended for a long night drive, it was certainly a fantastic and soothing way to start the evening. Their sound is reminiscent of Nashville’s The Civil Wars sans the fancy wardrobe. I found the openers to be just what was needed to set the mood for the night. Although they seemed a bit nervous to be playing to such a large crowd, I think, overall, they won them over. I haven’t stopped listening to their album for a while now.
Cowboy Indian Bear is certainly getting some recognition here recently. In fact, they had just released a Daytrotter session the day before the show, which was filling my entire Twitter feed on Sunday with everyone’s exuberant excitement for the recording. You can check it out here: Daytrotter Session. You can also go to their website and purchase their full length album Each Other All The Time or their 7″ It’s True.
Also opening for Florence and the Machine was Ireland’s own Two Door Cinema Club. These guys are certainly climbing fast after the release of their debut album, Tourist History in March of 2010. Much of the crowd knew and danced along to a lot of their set, and the crowd erupted in smiles and cheers when their radio release, “What You Know” started to play. The indie rock group came out on stage in wardrobe that resembled something from the early 50’s rock groups of yesteryear and were poised to put on a confident show for the crowd. They have a fun electropop sound that is easy to dance to and even easier to sing along with. There were also quite a few ladies swooning over the boys on stage, especially between songs when lead Alex Trimble would say a few words in his native accent. Not much was said between songs, just some love to the openers Cowboy Indian Bear and much appreciation to The Buzz for the opportunity. The remainder of the set was dedicated to getting as many songs out as possible. They also played favorites, “Do You Want It All” and “Costume Party.” Although their sound is post-punk revival at times and the guitars are something to be impressed with, I really enjoy Alex’s vocals the most. The falsetto voice chimes solidly with the high-pitched tones the guitars emanate. The biggest example of this can be heard in “Costume Party” where the buzzing guitars and echoing lyrics seemed to energize the crowd. All we were missing were the drop of balloons from the ceiling to signify that this was a huge party. You can go to their website and purchase their debut album and keep up on where they are currently touring now.
Photos and story by Angela Davis