A couple of months ago my significant other noticed Florence and the Machine was playing the DeLuna Festival in Pensacola this past weekend. This news excited her only slightly less than it would excite Mitt Romney to wake up to the news that Barack Obama had said he was a Kenyan born Muslim and gay to boot. Okay, maybe she was more excited than Mittens would be by that hypothetical news. The festival would be the closest Florence and The Machine would come to us before taking a scheduled winter break. Basically not going wasn’t an option. So with passes for Sunday in hand we departed for Pensacola at around 7 am.
I don’t know about TB, but I spent the first couple of hours in the festival grounds drinking beers and watching the Saints game, since the early acts didn’t really pique our interests. (Side note: The festival organizers should work on their signage. I felt like I had no idea where I was going once I crossed the bay bridge.) We descended upon the stage where Bob Mould, whose music I hadn’t heard but after a cursory google search became excited about due to his membership in Husker Du, whose music I also hadn’t heard, but I was aware of their role in punk rock history so I thought it would be pretty cool. He didn’t disappoint. As TB pointed out, he put on a great set, which I spent half of with a towel wrapped around my head to protect from the afternoon sun which unfortunately for me was attempting to overcook one side of my face. If you check out the video of Mr. Mould’s performance that TB posted, I’m standing right in front of Bob Mould. (And I think you can see the top of my head when he starts his solo and the camera pans back)
Superchunk arrived on stage about an hour later. They were okay. It was fun, but nothing too special really. I mainly just kept thinking about how boring it must be to be the rhythm guitar player in that outfit. He just seemed handcuffed.
Finally it was time for Florence and The Machine. The excitement in the area in which I was standing, again I was on the front row, was pretty fun. Most of the folks around me had been waiting in the sun for several hours to have a prime spot for Florence and The Machine. Strategically it was a good idea. Florence has a wonderfully powerful voice with a throbbing rhythm section to back it up, to go along with the harp, piano, and back up singers. Her stage presence and energy really stood out to me. Even though Florence is part of an ensemble, she is clearly the focus, and acts accordingly. Jeff Bebe of the fictional band Stillwater, played pretty well by Jason Lee in Almost Famous, says, “You know what I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off, and I make him get off.” Florence seems to understand this concept. At one point, though my significant other would disagree, she looked right into my eyes and smiled. What did it mean? Nothing really, just that she’s a pro who knows what her line of work is and how to operate. It was a festival so we got a shorter set than Florence and the Machine would usually play, but it was worth the trip to the Panhandle, and I would definitely like to see her play a smaller indoor venue one day.
Now if I could only figure out how I didn’t run into TB who was standing 10-15 feet behind me.