Since their breakout in the indie scene back in 2009, rock juggernauts Florence + the Machine have catapulted into stardom thanks to frontwoman Florence Welch’s bewitching, bellowing vocals, keyboardist Isabella “the Machine” Summers’ killer co-writing and production, and guitarists Rob Ackroyd and Mark Saunders, and percussionists Tom Monger and Chris Hayden’s suave accompaniments. Now, as their new era begins with their newest single, King, the band promises another historic age.
Before they create another epic chapter in the annals of music once more, here is a list of Florence + the Machine’s ten most iconic moments (so far).
10. The band was on-demand in the previous decade, to put it lightly, getting invited to be a part of soundtracks for various media. In 2011, the single I’m Not Calling You A Liar was reworked in favor of a folkier sound and was included in the Dragon Age 2 soundtrack. The band would then work on another video game soundtrack in 2016, when they were chosen to cover Ben E. King’s Stand By Me for the Final Fantasy XV official soundtrack.
9. Meanwhile, for their works on the silver screen, Breath of Life was released in 2012 as part of the OST for the movie Snow White and the Huntsman, and Over The Love became one of the lead themes for the 2014 hit, The Great Gatsby. Just last year, additionally, Disney called on the hitmakers to record Call Me Cruella, the single off of the Disney+ original film, Cruella.
8. During Chanel’s sea-themed spring/summer 2012 show, Florence Welch emerged from a giant clam (no, really) and sang What The Water Gave Me. This was one of Welch’s earliest rendezvous in the fashion scene, where she would eventually be more widely known as one of Gucci’s more prominent faces.
7. In 2015, Florence + the Machine played an incredibly electric set at Coachella. So electric, in fact, that Florence Welch jumped off the stage during a performance of Dog Days Are Over and broke her foot–and continued running around the crowd and hyping them up. The rest of the How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful tour had to be “toned down” after the incident, but no dates were canceled, and Florence Welch and co. were widely praised by critics for their larger-than-life performances.
6. In what Welch once described as “the most high-pressured thing I’ve done,” Florence + the Machine performed Ceremonials’ lead single “Shake It Out” at the live shows of singing competition show X-Factor. The band performed to the tune of 13 million viewers, making it one of the biggest performances in their career so far.
5. MTV Unplugged was held in high regard as one of the best platforms to showcase the vulnerability of musical acts (think Nirvana’s legendary 1993 set). Nothing short of breathtaking and angelic, the band’s 2012 appearance included muted and somber performances from Lungs and Ceremonials, a cover of Try A Little Tenderness, and a duet with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
4. 2012’s Spectrum (Say My Name), remixed by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, is the band’s first-ever single to top the UK charts. Released just a few days after Pride Month, the song was later adapted by the LGBTQIA+ community as a gay anthem, with the lyrics “say my name, and every color illuminates” becoming sort of a battlecry for LGBT rights in pride parades and rallies all around the world.
3. In 2009, Florence + the Machine would rise to fame with the release of their debut album, Lungs. But even before their first LP, the band won the Critic’s Choice Award at the 2009 BRIT Awards, a prelude to the long list of accolades set for them.
While accepting the award, then 22-year old Welch described their upcoming album as “sort of sounding like a choir, a harp, some metal chains, and a piano and all put through a car crusher, then hit with wooden planks really hard.”
2. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful ushered in an era of a much thunderous nature for the band, with hits such as Ship To Wreck and Mother bringing out the old rock gods out of Florence Welch and her team. To help promote the album, AN ENTIRE FILM directed by Vincent Haycock was released, with each of its chapters serving as music videos for the singles off the new record. The Odyssey, in Dante-laden metaphors, tells the story of Welch as she struggles to recover from a recent heartbreak, with each song from the album serving as the backdrop for her own personal circles of hell.
1. Quite satisfyingly, Florence + the Machine’s most iconic moment is a celebration of their multitudinal nature.
Just two weeks before headlining the 2015 Glastonbury Festival, rock band Foo Fighters announced that they will have to cancel their set after frontman Dave Grohl broke his foot at a concert in Sweden. The news broke everyone anticipating their first appearance as the main event in the world-renowned Pyramid Stage.
They were then replaced by Florence Welch’s troupe a week before the festival, and the resulting performance was, to put it quite succinctly, infectiously grandiose and bombastic. On top of jumping off the stage to dance and run and grab and wear flower crowns from the crowd, Florence Welch dedicated a slowed-down cover of Foo Fighters’ Times Like These to Dave Grohl and co, a touching gesture that Grohl said made him cry. “It really got me choked up, man. Tears started coming down my face. Not because I’d missed the show, but it was such a touching moment for me personally.”
A year later after the serendipitous event, Grohl, this time headlining Glasto for good, talked to the crowd about what happened before dedicating the same song to Florence + the Machine at the beginning of their set.
“I watched that show on my laptop as I was sitting on a wheelchair with a broken leg, and it looked beautiful. And my friend, Florence, got to headline that year. And I’m very happy that that happened because you know what, I thought she should have been headlining anyway.
“And as I was sitting in my wheelchair, watching the show on TV, all of a sudden, she played a fucking Foo Fighters song. Way better than we’ve ever played a Foo Fighters song.”
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