When playing before massive audiences, Florence and the Machine are known for taking over the entire stage, both through the consuming nature of their music and the larger-than-life showmanship of singer Florence Welch. Drop the UK outfit into a more intimate setting, however, and the dynamics change rather significantly. Still, Welch & co. are never any less resonant.
We saw this in the group’s stripped-back yet breathtaking cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” from July. We bear witness to it again in Florence and the Machine’s new Tiny Desk Concert, which featured High as Hope songs “June” and “Patricia” and “Ship to Wreck”, taken from 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.
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Unlike the arenas the band’s probably gotten accustomed to, the three-song set took place in the cozy confines of NPR’s offices. Noticeably nervous early on, Welch took a couple of minutes to adjust to the new surroundings. “I’m sorry I’m shy,” she addressed the room. “If this was a big gig, I’d probably be climbing all over here and running around.”
Welch never quite got to the point of jumping onto furniture, but when she and her crew — Tom Monger (pedal harp), Hazel Mills (keyboard, vocals), Robert Ackroyd (guitar) — had fully warmed up, that same heart and power we’ve come to expect from Florence and the Machine shined through in a special way.
Watch the full session below.