Her nervousness was palpable and stood in stark contrast to her fully produced stage show. "I'm sorry I'm shy," Florence Welch told the crowd of NPR family and friends gathered for her Tiny Desk performance. "If this was a big gig, I'd probably be climbing all over here and running around."
Opening with the song "June," from Florence + the Machine's 2018 album High As Hope, Florence performed with her eyes closed. By the end of the three-song set, she fully embraced the experience and gave in to the rapturous audience. Within seconds of hearing her first note, the raw power of her un-amplified voice was chilling.
It's impossible to talk about Florence without her backing band. Tom Monger adds exquisite ethereal textures to the songs with his stunning mastery of the pedal harp. Hazel Mill's backing vocals and anthemic power chords on the keys accentuate the poignancy of the lyrics at just the right moments. And Robert Ackroyd's rhythmic, steady acoustic guitar drives the music forward.
But the intensity of the musicality is almost secondary to the message in her lyrics. Ear-worm melodies coupled with repetitive phrases create universal, awe-inspiring anthems. At the end of her first song, Florence implored the crowd to hold on to each other. In "Patricia," she insisted it's such a wonderful thing to love. After 14 enchanting minutes, it's impossible to disagree.
- "Ship to Wreck"
Florence Welch (Vocals), Tom Monger (Pedal Harp), Hazel Mills (Keyboard and Vocals), Robert Ackroyd (Guitar)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Josh Rogosin, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Maia Stern, Kaylee Domzalski; Production Assistant: Brie Martin; Photo: Heather Kim/NPR