Florence And The Machine pull in string section for Mencap gig

Singer also wishes her drummer 'Happy Birthday' at London Union Chapel

Florence And The Machine played an intimate set at the Mencap Little Noise Sessions in London last night (November 22).

Florence Welch was accompanied by a string section for a stripped-down set at the Islington Union Chapel which saw the singer wish the band’s drummer Christopher Hayden, who was sitting in the audience, ‘Happy Birthday’.

“It’s someone who is very special’s birthday today,” she told the crowd. “He is usually our drummer, he is here by the way. In fact did you choose not to play because you wanted to get drunk?” she asked to which he shouted in response, “Yes.”

Florence then sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to her bandmate while the audience cheered before going on to perform her cover of Candi Staton‘s ‘You Got The Love’.

The singer, who was surrounded onstage by flowers and bird cages, played a powerful set which included hit singles ‘Dog Days Are Over’, ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ and ‘Drumming Song’.

As she launched into the latter with guitarist Robert Ackroyd and harpist Tom Monger, she drew attention to the fact she had no drummer, joking: “There are no drums but it is a drumming song. So it’s going to have to be ‘Drumming Song’ minus the drums.”

Although a drumkit had been set up beside her, Welch explained that it would remain untouched, saying: “There’s a drumkit here but I don’t think I’m going to use it once. It does look a bit lonely there.”

She then joked: “This is a nice way to spend Sunday. I don’t often go to church but it would be a bit strange if I got up onstage to do a gig every time.”

Florence And The Machine played:

‘My Boy Builds Coffins’
‘Between Two Lungs’
‘Hurricane Drunk’
‘Dog Days Are Over’
‘Cosmic Love’
‘Drumming Song’
‘I’m Not Calling You A Liar’
‘You’ve Got The Love’
‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’

Earlier, support band Golden Silvers‘ singer Gwilym Gold almost didn’t make the gig because he had to have a wisdom tooth out.

The band suffered a technical hitch as they stepped up to play when Gold‘s mic failed to work prompting bassist Ben Moorhouse to joke: “We thought we were going to be without him because he had his wisdom tooth out earlier. Looks like we’ll have to do without him anyway.”

But the band got back on track performing a host of songs from their debut album ‘True Romance’ including singles ‘Please Venus’ and ‘Arrows Of Eros’.

Mexican duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela made a brief surprise appearance, while Swedish singer Erik Hassle performed a cover of late soul legend Sam Cooke‘s ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’.

Hotly-tipped singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding kicked off the night with a short acoustic set which included recent single ‘Under The Sheets’.