NME Awards Tour, Cardiff

It’s Valentine’s Day. Tonight Florence’s Machine consists of guitar, keys, drums, a harp, and, for some numbers, White Lies’ Charles on bass. Their leader skips onto the stage in a burnt orange dress and bursts into ‘Between Two Lungs’, a song which allows her to exercise both her vocal and physical acrobatics. Florence’s performance is visually arresting, for the first few songs it’s impossible to take your eyes off her. However this quickly becomes very drama-school, particularly when she collapses on the floor at the end of ‘Girl with One Eye’. Her stage banter also becomes rather grating; before launching into ‘Kiss with a Fist’ Florence declares that Valentine’s Day should be “an orgy of love and violence”, and she introduces another song by informing the audience that it is “about dreaming about dead people you love. It’s a bit dark.” It just feels as if she puts a little too much effort into being ‘arty’.

The set ends on a high, however, with current single ‘Dog Days’. Unlike most Florence and The Machine songs, this has an uplifting feel. It sounds far more honest and heart-felt than the other tracks, which often seem to feature internal organs in the lyrics, perhaps in some sort of frantic attempt to be visceral and sincere.

Tonight there can be no question about whether Glasvegas are the right band to be headlining this tour. They take to the stage amidst a fuzz of noise, and as soon as the crowd recognise this noise turning into the opening bars of ‘Geraldine’ it’s possible to feel the emotion swelling to fill the room. No matter who you are or what background you come from, Glasvegas seem to be one of those bands with the ability to unite people, simply through singing about common, shared experiences. The set comprises almost every track from the band’s huge self-titled debut album, including all the singles, but sadly nothing from ‘A Snowflake Fell And It Felt Like A Kiss’, not even the bleak and bitter ‘Fuck You It’s Over’. ‘Ice Cream Van’ is most definitely the high-light of the evening; it has the audience standing frozen in awe throughout its entirety, an epic song and an intensely memorable experience.

James Allen will go down in history as one of the great front men; he commands the stage effortlessly, majestic in his simplicity and rawness.


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