Florence + The Machine get "Unplugged" for MTV

Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:32am EDT
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By Sabrina Ford

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Florence + the Machine kick off MTV's new season of "Unplugged" on April 8 with a show that singer Florence Welch called "amazing" as her powerful voice belted out hit songs like "Dog Days Are Over" in a candlelit room.

The soulful British singer and her backing band taped their "Unplugged" concert in New York's oldest synagogue building back in December to become the first of eight episodes airing across MTV and sister networks Vh1 and CMT. The Civil Wars and Dierks Bentley also are slated to perform during the new season.

MTV debuted its Emmy-winning "Unplugged" series in 1989, and it became an instant hit by taking singers and bands typically associated with big sounding pop music and stripping them down to basic, acoustic instruments and vocals. Over the years, the show has featured performances from popular artists including Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Nirvana and Jay-Z on intimate, often unconventional stages.

Backed by a 10-person choir, The Voices of Rivers, Welch performed fan favorites such as "Drumming Song" from her group's 2009 debut "Lungs," as well as the single "Never Let Me Go" from her most recent record, "Ceremonials."

Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme joined Welch for a cover of "Jackson," most famously sung by Johnny Cash and June Carter. Welch also covered "Try A Little Tenderness." Kanye West, who attended the taping with fellow rapper Q-Tip, sampled Otis Redding's version of the song on "Watch the Throne," his 2011 album with Jay-Z.

Welch said she was in awe of the former synagogue in which she and the Machine played and where the stage was decorated with dozens of candles.

"I had to stop myself after every song," Welch told Reuters. "I would be like, 'Wow.'

"It was so amazing performing the songs stripped back and just really being able to concentrate on the songs and the emotions," said Welch.   Continued...

Florence Welch performs with her band Florence & The Machine during the BRIT Music Awards at the O2 Arena in London February 21, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez