At a secret Dalston venue...

Florence Welch debuted new material from Florence + the Machine’s forthcoming sophomore album at a secret gig in north-east London last night.

An appreciative audience crowded into an old converted warehouse in Dalston to hear three new tracks from ‘Ceremonials’, due to be released on October 31. Welch closed the set with the standout first single from the new album, ‘Shake It Up’, an anthemic track showcasing her formidable voice.

Songs from the flame-haired singer’s debut record ‘Lungs’, including ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ and ‘Dog Days Are Over’, were warmly received by a crowd primed on bespoke cocktails and champagne.

‘Ceremonials; was recorded over five weeks earlier in 2011 in the famous Abbey Road studios in London and produced by Paul Epworth, who has recently been working with another British music success story, Adele. Fans were given a teaser for the new album in August with the online release of ‘What the Water Gave Me’, an introspective offering inspired by Virginia Woolf.

In Dalston last night Welch, looking demure in a high-collared monochrome silk shirt, didn’t deviate far from the winning formula that made ‘Lungs’ a worldwide hit in 2009: strong percussion and drums, and heart-stopping vocal crescendos.

Luv Luv Luv Records of London hosted the event, and three bands signed to the label warmed the stage for Florence and the Machine. Local outfit Spector delivered synth rock with a measure of pastiche, Talking Heads-inspired Theme Park played in the middle, and Jamie N Commons’s soulful country rock kicked off the night.

Nicola Heath

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