Florence and the Machine returned to the spotlight in spellbinding form last night with the launch show for sophomore album Ceremonials.
The atmosphere at London’s Hackney Empire simmered with anticipation as early as an hour before Florence Welch took to the stage. When she did, clad in Temperley London's vintage-style peach satin peignoir over satin shorts and a lace camisole, the crowd went wild.
‘It’s good to be back—thank you!’, she said, duly kicking off her shoes and launching into a round of barefoot twirling.
A silvery light and harp strings brought shivers to the spine at the opening of “What the Water Gave Me”, the first single from the new album. The gospel-tinged “Lover to Lover” and “Leave My Body” built excitement, but the show truly crescendoed with Lungs favourites “Rabbit Heart” and “Dog Days are Over”.
Among the dedicated fans singing along were Lily Cole, Hannah Marshall and Jaime Winstone. But the proudest people in the audience were Welch’s parents, who she singled out from the stage. ‘I can see my family,’ she said, waving and grinning toward the balcony.
Designer Alice Temperley said she was thrilled to have had a hand in the occasion. ‘Florence is absolutely brilliant. I love her vivacity and energy on stage and the movement of the silk cape I think really adds to the drama she creates,’ she told us.
With Welch's sorceress gestures looking more authoritative than ever, the only hint that she might feel any nerves about debuting new material came in her between-song banter. She repeatedly thanked the crowd for attending the show—a heartfelt if superfluous sentiment, given that tickets to the gig sold out within one minute of going on sale.
‘Thank you so much for having us back, London,’ she said again at the end of the show. We’re glad you’re back, Florence—now please, play more, won’t you?
Didn't make it to the show? Watch the new video for "Shake it Out" below, and check out Florence's Style File...