The curtain will fall on Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season before Florence and the Machine release their much anticipated How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful on June 2nd, so the London rockers shared some new album tracks on this season’s penultimate SNL episode. For their visit, Florence Welch and her well-oiled Machine performed a pair of How Big tracks, “Ship to Wreck” and first single “What Kind of Man.”
Although just a few weeks into a summer’s worth of festival appearances and tour dates, Florence and the Machine have already perfected their new album’s live sound; Rolling Stone even awarded the group Best Live Improvement for their Coachella performance. New single “Ship to Wreck” was delivered with pinpoint precision, and the stripped-down then explosive rendition of “What Kind of Man” packed more potency than the album version.
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In fact, Florence and the Machine’s performance was so powerful that casual SNL viewers probably didn’t even notice that Welch was glued to her stool because the singer broke her foot while performing at Coachella, impacting her onstage mobility. Although the band didn’t cancel their tour due to the injury, Welch noticeably kept the weight off her right foot during the SNL performance. The band has also booked slots at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Governors Ball and ACL Fest.
The Reese Witherspoon–hosted episode of SNL featured one more noteworthy music-related sketch: The Southern Republican Leadership Conference, “the hottest event of the year.” In the cold open about the 2016 GOP hopefuls, SNL reimagines Mike Huckabee as a shredding heavy metal bassist, Marco Rubio as a quasi-Ricky Martin and Rand Paul as a pro-kush-and-Chronic stoner.