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Coachella 2012: Appreciating Florence and the Machine's quiet storm

April 16, 2012 | 12:59 pm

There were plenty of beautiful moments during the first weekend of the Coachella Music and Arts Festival, but few felt as striking as Florence Welch’s quiet band, Florence and the Machine.

As images of stained glass roses shined brightly behind her, the British singer floated through her often twisted tales of romance, which are woven into haunting harmonies, lush guitar strings and tambourines.

Sunday night she bent her ethereal vocals through tracks from her critically acclaimed debut, “Lungs” and her current effort, “Ceremonials.” Her red hair tucked into a neat bun, she twirled across the stage, often finding herself lost in a spell, fluttering her arms to ground herself.  

With a backing band that included a harpist that provided some of the quieter moments, like on “What the Water Gave Me,” Welsh graciously –- and quite effortlessly -– commanded the crowd, even taking a moment after a stripped-down version of “Never Let Me Go” to wave appreciatively to everyone in her sight-line, her face blushing from the warm applause. 

Though the beginning of her set was partly drowned out by the thrashing punk rock of At the Drive In next door on the mainstage, her quiet rumble was heard plainly when the chants of power-soul anthems, “Shake It Off” and “Dog Days Are Over” stirred the crowd, inspiring them to move in arm-flailing celebration. 


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-- Gerrick D. Kennedy @gerrickkennedy

Photo: Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine performs during the first weekend of the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Sunday. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.