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I’m no music buff, but I occasionally like a gig. I like sipping on a pint and tapping my feet to familiar tunes. I like that buzzing feeling you get when your “favourite” comes on, and even better when you realise that wasn’t your favourite but the next one, or the one after is. We had that at Florence + the Machine last night. And how appropriate with it being International Women’s Day, to see a woman like Florence who has gained international status after her winning a Grammy and conquering the US.

We casually rocked up at Ally Pally post the Horrors set, shame. Got our beers, got our normal position of “front right, below the speaker”. The room was packed full of Flo fans which include anyone from your Auntie, your hairdresser to Kate Moss. Yes Kate Moss was there (she commented on my sisters hair). It took a while to squeeze past those we knew might irritate us, before settling behind the tallest man in the room. The lights went down after 5 minutes, perfect timing.

With a well extended into, Florence pranced onto stage in her usual leotard and cape combo, to kick start with If Only for One Night. Her Machine was a machine of strings, guitars, keys and large choir (including a man). That set the scene. My tapping feet escalated to hard core sing-screaming. I knew the words – this rarely happens. Hands in the air and bouncing, I stayed like this all night. My arms hurt today.

Later, for Between Two Lungs – the cape was flung off to reveal the black velvet and gold leotard. Effortlessly she continued to sing her way through the best of both Lungs and Ceremonials, flaunting her skinny frame with appropriate leg flicks and jumps – she was floating. A highlight was the audience experiment – much liked by the audience, we love participation. For Dog Days are Over, she paused the song to that part right at the end before the song kicks off again, and we all took part in a mass mosh, which went on for about 30 seconds as the aunties and Kate Mosses didn’t want to damage their perms and shoes. You’ve got the Love was almost acoustic and touched everyone’s hearts and pricked a few eyes – wow.

And she was excited, she wasn’t that shy, she didn’t play the cool card and only say “thank you”. She played all her songs for us, she loved us, we felt that. All of them except Kiss With A Fist, but that one is quite scary, so we were all happy about that. And her family were there, we all waved at them. It was endearing. She is a global goddess and she was excited that her family had come to see her, how nice.

She conformed to the fake goodbye and we all conformed to the shocked faces as she re-entered to play her final few songs, ending with an ever so appropriate Never Let Me Go. We won’t Florence, we salute you – independent woman you are.

by Daisy Bell

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