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Jul 14, 2019

Florence + The Machine and The National rock Hyde Park

The second Saturday of BST Hyde Park welcomed its first magnificent co-headline day this year; Florence + The Machine and The National.

✏️ by BST Hyde Park. 📸 by Louise Morris, Rory James and Tom Hancock.

Supported by a line-up of indisputably brilliant and pioneering artists, this headline show at Hyde Park topped off what has been a remarkable 16 months for Florence Welch, whose fourth album High As Hope granted her the third Mercury Prize nomination of her career. 

After an incredible day of passionate performances, Florence came to the stage ready for a brand-new take on her 2018 High As Hope tour. Florence and her mighty machine began the set with the gorgeous ‘June’, followed by the thunderous hit ‘Hunger’ from her latest album, twirling and leaping around the Great Oak Stage as she sang. She then treated the crowd to earlier material, including ‘Kiss With A Fist’, ‘Ship To Wreck’ and ‘Only If For A Night’, as an army of Florence fans, many adorned in floral headbands, sang along to every single word. 

Florence spoke to the crowd as the sun began to set, “Welcome to the matriarchy, it’s fun. This festival was brought together by women.” She continued “I would like to dedicate this song to Arya Stark.” before launching into ‘Jenny of Oldstones’, as featured on the recent soundtrack for series Game of Thrones. Her repertoire ranged beautifully from the classic retake on ‘You’ve Got The Love’, to ‘Dog Days Are Over’ to ‘What Kind of Man’ and newer songs such as ‘End of Love’ and ‘Patricia’.

She grinned, “I’m so overwhelmed by this. To come from playing the Old Blue Last and Camden every week.... so I cannot believe that, 10 years later, we are still here. The thing that has been so beautiful is the community that has built up around these shows. This will be our last London show for… a little bit.” Florence asked the crowd to join in ‘Shake It Off’ before leaving the London stage. A stunning set to close a stunning day of music.

The National are an American indie institution and the loyalty of their followers was clear to see in Hyde Park today. Joined on stage by three spectacular artists in their own right - Gail Anne Dorsey (who worked with David Bowie previously), Lisa Hannigan and Pauline de Lassus, the band launched into ‘Don’t Swallow The Cap’. Frontman Matthew Berninger got leapt into the crowd throughout, as they graced the crowds with a career-spanning set, including older hits like ‘I Need My Girl’ and newer tunes from their recent record ‘I Am Easy To Find’. They ended in a beautiful crescendo of noise to ‘Terrible Love’ and ‘Mr November’. 

Earlier on the Great Oak Stage, Lykke Li wowed the crowds with her impressive dancing and sultry persona on stage. She treated the crowds to ‘No Rest For The Wicked’, ‘so sad, so sexy’ and ‘Just Like A Dream’ as she danced with a tambourine in one hand and the crowd in the other.

Blood Orange AKA Devonte Hynes, who has toured previously with friend Florence Welch, brought another level of coolness to Hyde Park as he excited fans with classics such as ‘You’re Not Good Enough’. He later joined cool trio Khruangbin on stage. Their bopping baselines and catchy beats provided the summer soundtrack on this sunny Saturday. Nadine Shah brought a glorious wave of energy to Hyde Park before this, praising Florence for the “female heavy” line up of the day in between songs. 

The crowds swarmed to the Summer Stage for Self Esteem, who recently returned to the scene with her latest album Compliments Please after a hugely successful decade as one half of indie duo, Slow Club. First up on the Great Oak Stage was Cherry Glazerr, who brought their sweet and savage LA sound to Hyde Park, led by the band's indomitable frontwoman Clementine Creevy, dressed in a stark red two piece. Soul singer Mathilda Homer provided the cool, calming jazz on the Summer Stage – with the sun shining down on her and the intrigued crowd.

Other acts earlier in the day included Connie Constance, CC Honeymoon and Roses Gabor.