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April 17, 2014

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Fitz and Florence: tales from a Saturday concert doubleheader

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Erik Kabik/ErikKabik.com

Florence Welch, dressed surprisingly warmly

The sounds of indie-soul band Fitz and the Tantrums filter down the hall as we rush toward the Hard Rock pool. We’re late; we haven’t been to will call; and we need to be at the Cosmopolitan by 10 p.m. to catch Florence and the Machine. Security ushers us into the pool sans tickets. “We’re just letting people in,” the doorman says. Apparently, local Fitz fans have other plans tonight.

Not that it bothers the band, which lets loose with a high-energy dance party packed with favorites like “L.O.V.” and “Rich Girls” that at times feels like a backyard show—not counting the lasers and bikini-clad bartenders. They dance; we dance. They clap; we clap. And when Michael Fitzpatrick tells us to get down low for closer “MoneyGrabber,” we oblige, exploding the moment the chorus hits.

At the Cosmo, it’s a different story. Florence’s faithful are decked out in heels and clubwear and less inclined to dancing. Florence Welch takes the stage in a cascading robe and long-sleeved dress, stunning but totally at odds with the warm night.

Welch’s voice is the star of this show, at turns hauntingly ethereal and booming out like a call to arms. Barefoot and smiling, she jumps up and down, leads the crowd in a sing-along and intersperses hits like “Dog Days” and “Shake It Out” with thoughts on Downtown Vegas and the outdoor venue (“the most amazing place we’ve ever played”). Before launching into “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up),” Welch calls out, “I want to see some girls on shoulders.” Few take her up on the suggestion, but it’s no matter. The song does the uplifting on its own.

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