Florence + the Machine tonight at Palladium Ballroom

Grace against the machine

Florence Welch has been riding high ever since she and her band have released their debut 2009′s Lungs. Which we really liked a lot. Grammy nominations, VH1 Diva status and even a spot on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve are all high-profile honors the band has received in a short time. But FATM passed the true test of following up with the equally impressive Ceremonials from last year. FATM is all about big. Big voice, big drums, big music which should all fill the mega-big Palladium quite nicely.

DEETS: With Blood Orange. Palladium Ballroom,1135 S. Lamar Road. 7 p.m. $39.50. GilleysDallas.com.

—  Rich Lopez

REVIEW: Kelly Clarkson at Verizon Theatre on Friday

The seats were filled up to the nosebleeds last night at Kelly Clarkson’s show at Verizon Theatre. Clearly, North Texas loves the Burleson native and very likely, the show was sold out. Or that’s what the frustrated guy outside screamed to the scalper.  The crowd was sick with adoration — and I learned why. Clarkson is not so much a star as much as she is a genuine and personable talent. It’s hard not to appreciate her.

From behind a scrim flashing headlines of KC, she warms the audience with “Dark Side” from her latest album Stronger. It was a moody piece and offered a tepid opening, but she soon came center stage to rock out with “Behind These Hazel Eyes” that amplified the already high energy into the stratosphere. She finished her troika of an opening with a surprisingly early “Since U Been Gone.”

Clarkson was in great vocal shape and her band could rock the shit out her songs taking them from mere pop radio hits to arena-sounding levels. But it was after her first three songs that I saw the magic of Clarkson. She really is the girl next door with her aw shucks sassy and fun demeanor. Every little comment she made about being home resulted in deafening roars and she punctuated her homegrown flavor with a thick “kuntry” accent. Giving a shout to her friends and family in the audience was just a uproarious for the rest of venue. Clarkson was without any doubt, the homecoming queen for the night.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Austra’s “Spellwork”

Austra released one of my favorite albums last year. The dream-pop Canadians, led by queer singer Katie Stelmanis, pictured, created a beautiful musical landscape in their album Feel It Break. The band announced its new video Wednesday for “Spellwork.” While I’m not sure what’s really going on here, the song is prodigious with its rich keyboards and Stelmanis’ haunting voice that reminds of Florence and the Machine, but far less energetic.

Watch it. And then tell me what’s going on with that watermelon chow down toward the end.

—  Rich Lopez