Don Emmert, Getty Images CRISTINA JALERU, Associated Press: Various Artists,…
- Posted on Dec 17th 2010 11:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Michael Loccisano, Getty Images
"I said, hey, girl with one eye," Welch sang on 'Girl With One Eye,' the night's slinkiest tune, "I'll cut your heart out because you made me cry."
Guitarist Robert Ackroyd countered her vamping with a sleazy 'Stray Cat Strut'-style chord progression, and on her last pass through the chorus, Welch played on the audience's rapt silence, waiting a few seconds, then chomping down on her words. In her spike heels and flesh-colored mini dress, Welch looked like she sounded: confident, sexy and very much in control.
Thursday night, the five members of the Machine served more as stagehands than supporting players. Featuring harp, keyboard, guitar, bass and drums, the group proved versatile enough to give Welch whatever type of backing she needed -- everything from Coldplay-grade hero-rock to fidgety post-punk. On opener 'Howl,' the musicians played Banshees to Welch's Siouxsie Sioux, sketching out a skeletal goth-pop groove.
On 'Heavy in Your Arms,' Welch outgunned, with voice and personality, Christopher Hayden's martial drumbeat, earning a standing ovation in the process. 'Rabbit Heart' began with a cascade of harp notes, and toward the end, Welch demonstrated a neat vocal trick, rapidly moving the microphone in and out of range, creating a sort of oscillating sound.
The band ended with the hit 'Dog Days Are Over,' a tribute to both '60s soul and the big-lunged eccentricity of Annie Lennox, Welch's stylistic fairy godmother. Again, she sang and strutted with steely conviction, but when the song finished, she was all smiles and gracious thank-yous. Welch is lucky she can turn it on and off. "Stage" Florence is a force of nature, but she'd be a disaster in the real world.