Florence Welch might be a festival-topping, arena-conquering megastar, but last week she played a tiny, beautiful gig in a church in Hackney
Florence + The Machine performing at London’s Heaven as part of BRITs Week 2016 together with O2, raising funds for War Child. Go to warchild.org.uk/passport for more details.
Florence Welch and her band played a stripped back set at St-John-At-Hackney Church last Friday (February 26), including a harp, 12-string guitar and occasional trumpet in the reduced line-up.
The 1,400 capacity venue was a markedly more intimate place for the singer to perform, following her arena tour and headline performance at Glastonbury last year.
The set was mostly comprised of songs taken from Welch’s most recent album, ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, but the singer began proceedings with ‘Cosmic Love’, taken from 2009’s ‘Lungs’.
During the gig, Florence took the opportunity to talk to her fans about the work of War Child. “We’ve all been so affected by the things we’ve seen on the TV and in the news,” she said. “We’re so grateful to War Child for letting us help in this small way.”
‘Shake It Out’ was one of the warmest received songs of the night, with Florence asking fans to be her choir in place of her usual backing singers. She conducted the crowd from the stage, encouraging them to sing louder..
She also featured a couple of covers in the set, including Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Silver Springs’. “[They’re] a band who I’m probably one of the biggest fans of ever,” she said by way of introduction. Later, she performed a stripped-back version of Calvin Harris’ ‘Sweet Nothing’ single, which she featured on.
“My dad always asks me why I don’t write happy songs,” Florence told the crowd towards the end of the set. “There’s an upbeat one at the end,” she added with a laugh. As her and her band prepared to close things with ‘Dog Days Are Over’ she looked up to the balcony where her dad was sitting with a smile.
The crowd cheered and chanted “We want more” for a long time after Florence had left the stage, with fans staying put even after music began to play over the PA. Eventually, the lights came up and the eager audience spilled back out onto the street.