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How Florence And The Machine Lit Up The Sky For Her Australian Shows

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Photo: Belinda Dipalo for The AU Review

While my experience was solely based in Melbourne, from all the reviews I’ve read, Florence + the Machine‘s show was the same across the states. Which is not surprising since it was flawless.

On Tuesday night at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, 12,000 fans stood under a cloudy Melbourne sky, that had no moon or stars. That was soon to change, when a light as bright as the moon walked on to the stage, barefoot and beautiful.  A light that proceeded to shine for the next 90 minutes, bleeding euphoria like nothing you have ever seen before. Whilst running from one side of the stage to the other and asking the fans before her to jump up and down, Florence Welch was a burning flame of bright red hair and ridiculous vocals. She opened with What The Water Gave Me, while giving everyone there a wash of their own, a wash of astronomical proportions. It’d been five minutes and you knew you were about to be taken for an unexpected ride.

To reference a line from Third Eye, a track off How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, “You are flesh and blood! And you deserve to be loved.” And love is what she did to every standing piece of flesh and blood in that crowd. I don’t want to get too gruesome, so I’ll stop with the flesh and blood references and move on to the youthfully instructed “everyone get high, climb upon shoulders” request from the leading woman before she belted out Rabbit Heart (Raise Me Up). And so people did, the security putting their trust in the good will of the crowd that stood on shoulders before them.  In the moments that followed, Florence decided to test the speed and fitness of one security guard by rushing off the stage, running gallantly up the side ramp and clambering atop of the railings that separated the lawn from the stalls. There she stood, as the she sung out the last words of Rabbit Heart, holding hands with fans and leaving all of those not close enough to the front with a memory to take home not many artists would.

While Florence’s crowd interactions were one highlight, the Machine (her band), were another. Seamlessly in the backdrop of what was a well-painted stage, they never missed a beat, or a note, or a key, or a harmony. She shouted her way through, What Kind Of Man quite literally into a front row attendee’s face, giving that man a real talking to like he will never forget, I’m sure. As the night went on and she worked her way through hit after hit, she built the crowd from conservative onlookers to full-fledged party animals. It was then that a moment unlike any other occurred, for a brief song or two at least, when Florence requested we put away our phones. The crowd from where I stood did this obligingly. It was an amazing feeling to see thousands sharing a moment in real time, it was as if those five minutes were a shooting star, too fast for your iPhone, too special and rare. It was euphoric, the lack of bright white screens replaced by one bright white light, on a stage draped in darkness.

As the night drew to a close and Dog Days Are Over drew to its halfway point, Florence in her nicest voice requested we embrace one another: “Hug the person next to you, tell them you love them, touch their face, kiss them,” she asked. People young old, new and not so new friends all huddled together for what was to be the highlight of the night. Then the inevitable thing happened next, as it does at all Florence shows. Whilst removing her own top, Florence demanded the removal of a piece of clothing from everyone, ‘’wave a piece of clothing above your head”. There were scarves, jackets, bras and who else knows, in a sea of 12,000. Scenes you won’t see anywhere else.

So while the sky lacked a moon that night, we saw something just as spectacular come to life on that stage. We saw beauty, courage, talent, and one of the world’s greatest performers.

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Lower Spectrum Will Give You All The Dancefloor Feels With ‘Proxima’

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Lower Spectrum. Write it down, take it to the shop that makes custom fridge magnets, get a magnet, stick it on the fridge and you’ll thank yourself forever. Or if you have a good memory just remember the name. Ned Beckley, an Australian composer mostly prone to film and ballet (yes, ballet), is no stranger to making themed music. I call it themed music because this is what Proxima reminds me of, a story being told, like it belongs to a visual, that it couldn’t have existed without an element of inspiration, a story, a video, a painting even.

Proxima is the lead single off Low Spectrum’s forthcoming album, it is a song that covers in 6 minutes, hours worth of dance floor experiences. It builds early and has your ears fine-tuning themselves to pick the sample, and it ends in the world of 3am rave fantasy. Lower Spectrum is cementing himself right here and right now with this song. It’s the kind of single you hear and start looking for more songs by the same artist.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lowerspectrum/proxima-single[/soundcloud]

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