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Will Florence Conquer Glastonbury?

Florence1.jpg

Well that was quick.

Just days after Dave Grohl won (again) the hearts of music fans everywhere (and, indeed, beat a raccoon riding an alligator in our poll) by continuing to perform at a concert in Gothenburg after breaking his leg, and less than 24 hours since their confirmation that they were pulling out of their headline slot, Glastonbury has announced that its replacement will be Florence and the Machine.

Grohl posted up a letter to fans last night detailing the extent of his injuries, confirming that they were going to have to pull their Wembley and Edinburgh stadium shows, as well as the Friday night headline slot at Glastonbury, and immediately the rumour mill went into operation over who could replace them.

However, this time it was a different situation to 2010, when U2 pulled out with over a month to go after Bono suffered a back injury. On that occasion, Gorillaz were parachuted in to headline having not originally been on the bill; performing an admirable job in the circumstances.

With only nine days until the show, trying to get another big name at this notice was always likely to be a difficult task, so they've gone for a ready-made replacement. Florence was already down to play the Pyramid Stage before Foo Fighters, so she'll simply get a longer slot, and the chance to step up into the real big league with her first performance at the festival since 2010 - and her first time ever on the main stage.

"Once we heard... Foo Fighters had been forced to pull out, there was only one person we wanted to call and that was Florence" said organiser Emily Eavis.

So, will it work?

STAR QUALITY

Florence is famous for putting on an elaborate show; she's certainly got the outfits and the stage presence. As flamboyant as Beyonce in 2011? We doubt it, but probably enough to pull it off. However, she's not played a stadium before, and her biggest UK show so far has been the indoor arena of London's O2. A step up to 70-odd thousand in Worthy Farm is a big jump.

Florence

SONGS

Her latest record, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, is her third album, so she's got the catalogue to do it: Gorillaz also had three albums when they headlined, and Coldplay did it after just two in 2002. But headline slots are the places where you need bonafide hits and this is where she could struggle. Gorillaz found it difficult without those marquee songs to pin the set around and bring in the casual fan and Florence has arguably only got three no-nonsense belters: 2009's Candi Staton cover You Got The Love, 2011's Shake It Out and 2012's Spectrum (Say My Name). Will that be enough?

Popularity

With so much else going on at Glastonbury, it's not always a given that people will automatically watch the main stage headliners - there has to be some awareness already. However, there shouldn't be too much problem there: Lungs sold over 1.1m in the UK, Ceremonials more than 700,000 and How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful went straight to number 1 upon its release a couple of weeks ago.

Lungs

Lungs: Big

Special Tricks

A nice guest appearance is always welcome - and Dizzee Rascal could be the man. He's already done a track with Arctic Monkeys in 2007 (although it didn't go brilliantly), so a reprise of You Got The Dirtee Love could happen. Although looking back, it was a bit strange wasn't it? Earlier in the day sees James Bay and Mary J. Blige take to the stage and either of those might work; could Mary join Florence for a You Got The Love soul duet? We wouldn't bet against it. Anyway, we just hope she doesn't reprise her subtlety-free cover of Beyonce's Halo which she performed on a Live Lounge of yore. Our ears haven't quite recovered yet.

(Images: Rex)

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