By: Kevin Rolfe
When I got the invite to review Flora Cash I did a little research about the band to get myself familiar with them leading up to the show. I became fascinated with their history and origin. Female vocalist Shpresa Lleshaj hails from Sweden. Male vocalist and guitarist Cole Randall is from Minnesota. Shpresa discovered some of Cole’s tracks on SoundCloud. She began commenting on the tracks and they started sharing their music back and forth. They then started conversing over Facebook Messenger, then they’d talk on the phone, which was followed by lengthy Skype collaborations. They finally met in Minneapolis. They than headed to Sweden to begin their career as a band. This ultimately led to their marriage and the band Flora Cash was born. Flora Cash is currently supporting lovelytheband on their current Finding it Hard to Smile U.S. tour. The tour stopped at the Depot in downtown Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 23.
On several occasions I’ve heard people who have been in a band their whole life say that their relationship with other band members is like a marriage. It’s important to compromise and show patience and tolerance. They share their highest highs with these bandmates as well as some of the difficult lows in life. Because of the dedication it takes to make a lifelong band work, many of these musicians have failed in their actual marriages. Multiple times in many cases. So I’m really interested in the dynamic of working hard on the music and the “band” relationship while also working on keeping the marriage the strong bond that it needs to be.
Being by the stage for the first few songs is awesome on many levels. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be in front of the front row?! So yeah, that part’s cool, but for me being that close allows me to see the communication within a band. I can follow the subtleties of a look, or a signal to another band member to make sure they’re on the same page. It’s one of my favorite things to see. I could see the slightest look within Flora Cash and I could tell they were basically having a conversation within those glances. It’s no surprise that they blend so well together vocally and seem perfectly in sync with one another. That was my biggest takeaway, that a guy from Minnesota and a gal from Sweden could mesh so well with each other.
Randall told the Utah crowd that this was Flora Cash’s second time playing Utah. He mentioned that the last time they received such a good response that when they saw Utah was coming up on the tour they got really excited to see what the crowd had in store for them this time. I always love hearing that because as anyone who’s read my past reviews knows, I think Utah has some of the best crowds in America. This crowd was no exception. They were really locked in on Flora Cash, applauding louder and louder as each song passed.
Flora Cash is an alternative band that mixes guitar with electronics. There is so much emotion in their music and they perform it with extreme intensity. I honestly don’t know how they do it night in and night out. It’s not the kind of emotion that can be simulated. It seems to me that you’d have to get into the depths of those feelings. I admire them greatly for going there. It’s impossible not to feel what they’re expressing. There was a moment during their opening song “Roses on Your Dress” where I found myself just standing there watching. I’m supposed to be taking photographs and I was just totally caught up in the intensity! Fortunately, I came out of my trance to capture these delightful pictures you see before you. I did spend some time looking at some of the fans along the railing. It was clear that they were there for lovelytheband, but they were just like me, totally fixated on the music and the moment that Flora Cash was giving us.
The good and bad of seeing a supporting band is they play a condensed set. I’ve seen many an opener where I was more than happy for them to finish their set and walk off stage. But there are many bands that I wished would have had the opportunity to play even longer. Such was the case with Flora Cash. I felt like they were just getting started when they began thanking the audience for being so great and introducing their biggest hit to date, their Alternative Music charting single “You’re Somebody Else”. They were delighted to hear the crowd sing along. When it came to the final chorus Lleshaj asked the audience if they knew this song, and the majority of the crowd cheered that they did. When she got the confirmation she invited them to sing along and they did. They sang the song loudly and I could tell that the band loved it.
Cole Randall mentioned at one point in the show that he and Shpresa Lleshaj have overcome challenges and difficult times. He didn’t mention if they were band related or marriage related. But I suppose for them those things are intertwined. It not only reveals itself in their music, but also in their performance. There is real love there, and it seems like they are really enjoying the experience.