Walkmen singer/guitarist Hamilton Leithauser has got to be one of the more unassuming frontmen around. While he and the band certainly perform their songs with a lot of gusto, between songs, he seemed very casual and genial as he addressed the crowd, putting forth an everyman sort of demeanor. For example, instead of bellowing out a “Thank you, goodnight!” at the end of their set, he opted for a simple, “We’re The Walkmen, we’re gonna get out of here now.” Simple and straightforward. They may not have been playing to their usual crowd but let’s hope they converted a few new fans that night. I am a bit disappointed that only about half the band was wearing suits though.
Of course, the performer the crowd was waiting for soon took to the stage. much to the enjoyment of the (largely female) crowd. Yes, Florence And The Machine may be the name of the band, there’s no denying that Florence Welch is the star of this show. And with her increasing popularity and a few big festival gigs under her belt, Welch is certainly looking comfortable with her star status. An assured performer, she definitely knows how to work a crowd. Plus it’s not just any performer who can pull off wearing a cape onstage (though James Brown and Rick Wakeman come to mind), let alone run a full lap around the Amphitheatre while wearing said long, billowing cape. “It is the Olympics after all.” she joked. Despite the many dramatic gestures in her performance, Florence also comes across as fairly down to earth, as evidenced by the moment when she and her keyboard player ran down to the side of the stage to acknowledge a young fan who wore a t-shirt (presumably homemade?) that featured all of her lyrics.
One quibble I do have with this show is that she focused mostly on material from her latest album at the expense of numbers from the band’s debut Lungs. I was disappointed by the absence of “Kiss With a Fist” from the set. Maybe she feels it’s inconsistent with the direction the band’s going in, who knows? Regardless, it was a solid, confident performance, and songs like “Shake It Out” and “Dog Days Are Over” sounded good live and definitely satisfied the packed house at the Amphitheatre.