Preview: Sundae on the Common, Clapham Common, London

Songbird who likes living in a fantasy world
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The Independent Culture

The feisty singer Florence Welch, of indie-soul band Florence and the Machine, will be performing at London's Ben & Jerry's Sundae on the Common, alongside other acts including The Charlatans, Ash, Guillemots, Lemonheads, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and Charlotte Hatherley.

Welch's dark lyrics in songs such as her debut single, "Kiss with a Fist", about a romantic punch-up, and "My Boy Builds Coffins" are sung with haunting beauty. The 21-year-old, who hails from south London, was an art student at Camberwell College of Arts, before dropping out to follow a career in music.

The energetic performer was the support slot on the MGMT's European tour earlier this year. "I had so much fun. It was pretty wild," says Welch. "We got banned from their tour bus because we were a bad influence." The singer, who has now persuaded some friends to join her "floating band", writes her own lyrics. "My songs can be morbid," she says. "I like to escape into a dark fantasy world in songs rather than daily life. Death, God and fate fascinate me. The big things. My song 'Bird Song' is about a guilty conscience. A bird sees you doing something wrong and it sings about what you've done louder and louder and you kill it. Then when you go to sleep the birdsong in your head gets louder and when you wake up the only thing that comes out of your mouth is what the bird was singing."

One of her first ever gigs, at 15 years old, was singing with a childhood friend, Gwilym Gold, who is now the lead singer of Golden Silvers. Welch started the band last Christmas, and is now writing her first album. "I was in a punk band called The Toxic Cockroaches before and I sang at weddings and funerals – but then last Christmas I was drunk and singing Motown in a toilet at a party in Soho and somebody asked me to sing. Then loads of people wanted to hear me sing. It took off from there. I was the drummer at first for a bit. I was really bad at it. Now I just focus on singing."

26 and 27 July (www.benjerry.co.uk/sundae)

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