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The Passion Machine
At the end of a victory lap of just about every major music industry awards show going, Hot Press manages to buttonhole the Oxegen-bound Florence Welch backstage at the Meteors. Tired but jubilant, the Amazonian belle of the ball spills the beans on collaborations with Dizzee Rascal and David Byrne, her adoration of Courtney Love and My Bloody Valentine, and reveals that all she ever wanted was to appear in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber production.
Stuart Clark, 24 Mar 2010
Famous people are invariably smaller in real life than you’d imagined, but not Florence Leontine Mary Welch, who’s 6ft in her stockinged feet and professional basketball-player height in the gravity-defying heels, which have made her a bit of a cause celebre on footwear fetish sites. How do I know this? Er, let’s just say that I have a wide range of recreational pursuits and move quickly on.
Ms. Walsh and her Machine are in Dublin for the Meteors, Ireland’s annual musical gong-giving ceremony, which is taking place just 72 hours after her and Dizzee Rascal’s storming of the Brits with their ‘You’ve Got The Dirtee Love’ mash-up. The track promptly reaches number 2 in the UK singles chart on downloads alone, while not to be outdone her Lungs album sells its 611,110th copy there.
Add in her Meteors double-whammy – opening the show with an on this occasion un-sullied ‘You’ve Got The Love’ and going home with the ‘Best International Band’ award – and it has to be said that Florence has come an awfully long way since making her Irish debut at the 2008 Electric Picnic.
I’m afraid the three gazillion people who’ve subsequently laid claim to being in the Crawdaddy tent at the Picnic are mostly lying, with at best 250 hungover souls seeing her play a frenetic set, which even a two-bit hack like me recognised as being a bit special.
“Florence is achieving the impossible by wearing a gold lamé dress that’s even shorter than the one sported last year in the same tent by Jenny Lewis,” I noted, ever the style guru, in my review. “Equal parts Aretha Franklin, Sandy Denny and Kate Nash, Ms. Welch and her band The Machine peddle a neat line in shouty, folk-inflected pop with the politically incorrect ‘Kiss With A Fist (Is Better Than None)’ a top 10 hit waiting to happen.”
Which was pretty prophetic for a man who’s previously tipped Milburn, Boy Kill Boy and, ahem, Andrew WK for chart-conquering glory. As mesmerising as her maiden Picnic appearance was, no way did I think that 17 months later we’d be sat backstage at the RDS discussing her hobnobbing with rock and hip hop royalty.