Nothing, however, had prepared us for the shock-and-awe over the last few days of the month; two bombshell surprise live performance announcements within 48 hours of each other; a free one-time concert opportunity for California, and then…Florence and the Machine chose Grace as a last minute replacement when Ms. Welch’s band’s scheduled opener “Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats” had to opt out of the last four shows on Florence’s US Tour.
First things first, since it’s now in our rear-view mirror, the free show at California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo went VERY well for a last minute appearance.
See yesterday’s editorial for a review of that show…
It was wonderful to see Grace so relaxed and free-spirited. She looked like someone with the kind of energy needed to go on tour.
She’ll get a little taste of touring over the course of June 5th through the 9th when she opens for Florence and The Machine in the southern U.S.
What does opening for Florence Welch and her band mean for Grace’s career? Well, it’s definitely another feather in her cap and provides her even more street cred.
Florence’s opening acts on her latest tour have many things in common, but the most dominant quality is critical respect. Many up-and-coming artists and critical darlings have toured with the band since August of last year.
St Vincent (aka Annie Clark) opened on the “High as Hope” tour in September of 2018. St Vincent’s last album “Masseduction” debuted in the top 10 on Billboard in late 2017 and was ranked in over 26 top 40 album lists by influential magazines, newspaper and websites such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Fuse, New Music Express, The New York Times, Slant, and USA Today.
Billie Eilish opened, on and off, on the tour over the course of the last year, playing shows in October of 2018 and January of 2019. Billie just regained the top spot on the album charts with her debut “When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?” LP after releasing it back in April. Eilish is now second only to Ariana Grande thus far in 2019 in sales and streams and has 3 songs in the Billboard Top 100. Her album is also regarded to be a top contender for an Album of The Year Grammy by industry pundits and magazines such as Hits and Billboard.
A list of artists that have toured with Florence over the last year and a half include; Wet (Top 10 alternative album debut), critical darling Beth Ditto, Marlon Williams (an award winning folk artist from New Zealand), Young Fathers (a UK hip hop group with many album-of-the-year award accolades from across the pond), Christine and the Queens (a french band, who, you guessed it, have albums listed as best-of-year by many trades including New Music Express, The Guardian, and Time), etc.
What all of the above means is that Grace is not being recognized, and rewarded,for any celebrity she may possess as a former winner of AGT (with the alternative music crowd it’s actually a huge strike against her), nor for being a budding actress in a Disney movie (another strike against a perceived “cool” factor), or as a model, but rather as a serious musician and songwriter; one they respect and in whom they see much potential.
It’s also a wonderful personal accomplishment for Grace to be able to open for one of her idols, Florence Welch.
Check out Grace performing/rocking-out Florence’s “Dog Days Are Over” when Grace was just only barely 12 years old… This is the song Grace thought she was going to perform on her AGT audition until the producers decided to allow her to sing an original…
Will Florence invite her on stage to perform the above song with her? It would be magical, but we may be pushing our luck already.
One other aside. This type of concert, one with a genuine alternative-music vibe, begs for Grace to play her more serious and moody material. If ever she’ll find a receptive audience for it, this is it. I love “Escape My Mind”, don’t get me wrong, but the crowds showing up for Florence and The Machine would likely dig deep into “Darkness Keeps Chasing Me”, “Lungs”, or “Hope For Change” much more. Just sayin’…
The best part of all of this is we don’t have to wait for months for any of this to happen. Grace opens for the band on Wednesday night in Raleigh North Carolina 11 months to the day after she opened for Imagine Dragons in the same venue!
It should be noted that, with the exception of the London show, Florence doesn’t have any opener committed to the last 8 shows of the European leg of the “High as Hope” world tour. We should keep in mind that Florence changes up her opening act more than any other I can recall, so asking Grace to tour Europe isn’t a prediction so much as a hope.
An interesting side note: Florence’s latest album “High as Hope”, the one this tour supports, has two eerily relatable song titles; “Grace” and “June”. Also synchronous is the title of Florence’s first album released only one month short of ten years ago: “Lungs”.
Here’s a special video I edited together last night to honour this pairing of Grace and Florence…
This article was first published in our online discussion forum at https://vandervault.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=218.