July 8, 2011

Florence + The Black Keys Rock Milwaukee! @flo_tweet #TheBlackKeys

The other night I had the luck of seeing one of my favourite musical artists of all time perform live and I am eternally grateful for this occurence. Of course, I'm referencing Florence + The Machine and her show at Summerfest in Milwaukee this past Wednesday. I previously mentioned in my last post (and numerous others) that I missed her Chicago appearance that was scheduled for June 18, 2011 at the Aragon Ballroom. This was quite a step up in venue since her April 2010 at House of Blues. I'm serious though, I've droned on about that show too much (well, for you probably). If you haven't seen it, check out all things I've blogged about Florence HERE.

So of course, WXRT helped me out on the information front and advertised that she would be appearing with Cage The Elephant and The Black Keys. My counterpart and I are both Black Keys fans (we saw them this past New Years at The Aragon) so there was little to no arm twisting in order to get him to purchase the tickets and take the short trip to Milwaukee. He knows how much I love Florence and I think the risk of him being the one getting in the way of seeing her show would be an issue, especially since the last once fell through the cracks, was too great. Heh, so needless to say, we picked them up on the way to Milwaukee and my excitement grew as the tickets were finally within my hands-and eyesight.

YAY! Roadtrip time. Well, three hours, a mini-road trip. I love long car rides, especially with my counterpart. We checked into the Hotel Metro, which the hotel we gravitate to when we stay in Milwaukee (we had been here previously for Spoon on New Years 2009/2010). It was the first LEEDS certified hotel in Wisconsin and has a bunch of neat back history to it-if you're into that sort of thing. Not to mention, the beds are so so so comfortable and the service and food is fantastic. We have to remember that the rock stars stay at the neighboring hotel, but we love the style of the rooms at the Hotel Metro. We did catch a glimpse of the Black Keys standing outside the other hotel, which was a thrill on the way to see them...but let's not forget, this is a Florence review-so back to that! We walked down to Summerfest around 5:30, strolled along the lakeside, got dippin' dots & elephant ears, and made our way into The Marcus Ampihtheatre, were I grew anxious...

This place was BIG. I had seen her in a room with no more than 200 people where I was mere feet away from the stage. I threw a pin and a note and hoped for the best. I snagged that glorious set-list that she stomped all over in her musical fury...

...this was a big change. The place was flooded, but in a way, I was thrilled. I was so happy that so many people would get to experience this performance-and people that generally would not, which is the key thing. The people I was around weren't necessarily there for Florence, which kind of made me think I might feel sheepish when she came on and I started dancing like an idiot (an awesome idiot!). I continued to throw up all over twitter about it (see sidebar) and sat in my seat watching the instruments for the machines be put in place. The harp appeared and my excitement soared. I could not be more excited to see her perform.

See, here's the thing, You see, Florence is one of my musical soulmates. It's hard to sum up what that really means to me, but I guess it ultimately means that her music moves me—dancing, figure skating, singing; it makes me feel, it would be music that I myself would choose to create, it's been music that I've passed on to a countless number of people. I've been listening to her for years and can genuinely say that I'm so proud of her WELL-DESEREVED success. I'm happier knowing she's alive, making music, and performing. Seeing this show was a big deal to me. I just want to make that clear.

The lights dimmed, the crowd rose in unison, and the music for "Howl" came out through the speakers. I could feel it-the energy that was about to be unleashed through vocal performance and exuberance across the stage. She appears-light bouncing off of her red hair and draped in a dark red cloak over a dress. Her microphone is adorned with fake flowers-she collects. The voice pours from her and overwhelms the crowd. The music pounds out perfectly through the speakers, a style of music that sounds "really good coming from that style theatre" according to my counterpart (turned Florence fan this past Wednesday). The huge screens and projectors were a huge aid in really watching the performance along with her connection to the music. There are a million things you can take away from her performances, but one of my favourite qualities is her witchy vibe she exudes, which I'm sure is no accident. She tends to look at the crowd eerily while twitching her fingers along to the melody or you can find her appearing to cast spells and conduct the crowd with her drumstick which she used to great effect in songs like "Drumming Song" & "Between Two Lungs". It is entrancing to watch her move from one side of the stage to another and to see her shear cape float through the air as her voice commands your adoration.. It's even better to hear her shreak and scream as an accent to some of her songs-including her new single. I cannot wait for that new album...

As expected, 'Cosmic Love' struck more chords than expected and I found tears streaming down my face as I was dancing and singing along. I loved the crowd during 'Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)' & 'Dog Days Are Over' and was just so happy to be a part of the whole experience. The best news came when she said this was her LAST SHOW OF THE TOUR! I let out a squeal and was so relieved that I was able to see this show. I was glad I got to experience her album live twice and I'm also glad I got to hear the new single, which was phenomenal. Florence had to go ahead and have awesome tour shirts, which I definitely decided needed to be mine upon laying my eyes on it so you can see me modeling that here;

Unfortunately, this wasn't a Florence + The Machine show, it was more of an elongated opener. She played a lot of my favourites, but there will always be songs left out of they are all your favourites. I can only hope to see her next time she comes to Chicago. I can only imagine what kind of venue she will be in next time, regardless, I will be there to see it-you better be too! I cannot forget to mention The Black Keys, because they were great and are a pleasure to watch and listen to. I loved how they used movie/clip backgrounds to go along with their music. 'Everlasting Light' is always my favourite song they perform-however, I feel that a great song to go into right after is 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. It would be so great with that disco ball down-a huge perk of the performance. Both of these artists are an absolute treat to see live-so lucky that I got to see them both twice. I hope that the third time's a charm!

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