It was 10 years ago that Florence + The Machine first captivated listeners with her stunning debut album ‘Lungs’. And from then on Australia has had an incredible love affair with the British singer-songwriter that has seen her continually come back to play festivals and massive headline shows. Every time she only seems to get bigger and deservingly sells out more shows. To celebrate her dreamy fourth studio album ‘High As Hope’, she’s returned down under for her biggest run yet of dates yet with two sold out shows at the Riverstage in Brisbane.
With the eager crowd packing into the venue and claiming a good spot on the grassy hill with their picnic blankets, Marlon Williams walked onto the stage with his big band to perfectly set the mood. With the sun going down, the New Zealand singer-songwriter crooned through openers ‘What’s Chasing You’ and ‘Dark Child’ and slowly warmed up to the crowd. “Hi Brisbane, How you going?” he questioned before continuing with ‘Can I Call You’ and ‘The Devils Daughter’. It was around this point in the set that everyone started looking around at each other and questioning just how he sounded so amazing. With influences of Roy Orbinson and Elvis Presley shining through the material he immediately stood out as an artist who is so different and interesting in this current musical climate. 2018 was a huge year for Williams after the release of his sophomore album ‘Make Way For Love’, a massive world tour as well as featuring in Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s remake of ‘A Star Is Born’. From all of these recent successes, his live show has only got tighter and bolder. He has you giggling along with his quirky anecdotes as he dedicates a song to his unborn child that doesn’t exist and daggy dances through ‘Party Boy’. With the set coming to an end he wrapped it all up with ‘Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore’ and ‘Portrait Of A Man’ which left the crowd in awe of his incredible and intricate vocals.
After a brief intermission and a wooden stage structure reveal, the lights dimmed with moody lighting, smoke effects and dark synths welcoming Florence + The Machine to the stage. Soulfully opening with ‘June’ she instantly took you to a therapeutic and safe spot within your self conscious for a night of emotional experiences. “Hello Brisbane, we are Florence + The Machine. Would you like to dance with us?” Welch propositioned as they launched into the anthemic ‘Hunger’. With four albums now officially released they evenly distributed fan favourites including ‘Between Two Lungs’, ‘Only If For A Night’, ‘Queen Of Peace’ and ‘South London Forever’ which paid homage to her empowering collections. Stopping the show momentarily to talk to the crowd she pleaded “please do not give up hope!” as she explained her own battles with anxiety and how things only get better with time. “Brisbane you’re so fun. Thank you so much for having us back! For this next one, sing it with us and rage with us!” she exclaimed before playing new album cut ‘Patricia’. With the euphoric vibes of ‘Dog Days Are Over’ following she stopped the song half way through to ask the crowd to put away their phones and just be in the moment which they quickly agreed to. The whole crowd jumped up and down with their hands in the air whilst embracing each other and being completely free. Even if it was for just one song, it was a special and cool moment. ‘100 Years’, ‘Sky Full Of Song’ and ‘Cosmic Love’ followed before she just jumped off stage and ran deep into the crowd for the fiery ‘Deliliah’. As she made her way back to the stage she comfortably stood on the barrier and held hands with the front row and belted out ‘What Kind Of Man’.
Saying good night to the adoring crowd, it was pretty obvious she was going to come back because they really didn’t want her to leave yet. Returning with the unreleased ‘Moderation’ she jumped back into the crowd for ‘Big God’ before actually closing the show with the euphoric vibes of ‘Shake It Out’. With some big songs like ‘You’ve Got The Love’, Spectrum’, ‘Drumming Song’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’ noticeably missing from the setlist you really wanted the show to keep going. But with a near 2 hour set time and a venue curfew looming you still walked away impressed and happy with the euphoric and inspiring show she delivered. Every time she comes to Australia she only gets better and better and this tour was a true testament to how strong she is as an artist. She’s so free when she performs with her flowy dress, interpretive dancing and bare foot vibes.
Check out the full gallery captured by Zac Montgomery Photography HERE;
Photos by Zac Montgomery