Florence comes to town

Like a screaming harpy accompanied by a harpist, British singer Florence Welch flew into NYC on Monday for the first of two shows here. I was eager to see this woman, whose brilliant opus of a record, Lungs, is one of the best, and hardest to classify debut albums ever. In it I hear, and call me crazy, Concrete Blonde, Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, Cocteau Twins, and Sinead O’Connor. She yelps. And screams. And sings her heart out.

With her band, named Florence + The Machine, she’s a force to recon with. The drum beats are brutally fast. Her music is dark and haunting and rhythmic and pulsing. And she sure is is fun to watch. Wearing a cream colored Chanel with black belts and cuffs she floated across the stage Monday night. The crowd, a unique mix of straight and gay and male and female, were entranced. She hit every note, even the ridiculously high ones, right on key. She was a brooding angel. A screaming siren. She glowed. And not just her alabaster skin.

Her album takes time to take in. It is layered and not too likable at first. Nothing is too poppy or hooky. But if you take time to really listen and to appreciate you’ll see she’s the anti-pop singer. Not slick. Not perfect. But oh so real.

Like she was last night, with fiery mane and Miss Havisham drag, singing her English ass off.