So Florence has been upgraded to headline status at Glastonbury on the Friday night slot after the Foo’s Dave Grohl broke his leg falling off stage? Florence escaped a similar fate and will perform with a broken foot after similar exuberance at her Coachella gig in California a while back. Looking at the pros and cons of her upgrade on social media and in the papers, everyone with a love of music has an opinion on it. The simple fact is that it is happening, so just get on with it.
One sad commentator in the daily free rag that is Metro said it was like expecting the Queen and getting Lily Savage. This remark is dumb on a number of levels, the most obvious being that in truth, getting a seasoned performer over a dowdy octagenarian aristocrat is a seriously good move for all concerned. I love the Foo Fighters, but they’re out and Flo is a go. Pulp stepped up to the plate when The Stone Roses’ John Squire broke his arm in 1995 and gave a standout performance, Supergrass stepped in for the in meltdown Libertines in 2004 and did the same, as did Gorillaz when U2’s Bono got injured in 2010. Florence will do a fine job and it is fitting that she gets the top slot as her third album enjoys great success. Radiohead got the 1997 top slot in time for their third album, the sublime OK Computer and it is only fair that someone of the calibre of Florence should be given similar status – she has earned it.
The past few years have seen her have her own meltdown what with moving back home with her parents no less, a ‘nervous breakdown of sorts’ by her own admission and battles with drink. It is wonderful to see her back and with such a swaggering bang. It may be too early to compare her to the likes of Kate Bush, but she has outperformed the venerable Kate in always being a stand out live performer where Kate was shy for far too long. Florence’s last outing at Glastonbury was in 2010 and her final song was a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s iconic ‘The Chain’. It never ceases to send a shiver down my spine at around 3.17 of the video below. From its slow build up, to its out of control finale, this is an anthem that few would attempt to nail at such a big event, but not Florence – she is a force of nature and come next Friday, she will have earned her place amongst the greats by virtue of her talent and raw energy on a stage. ‘Running in the shadows‘? I don’t think so.