Live Review: Hothouse Flowers at Vicar Street

Boosted by the appearance of their track 'I Can See Clearly Now' on The Grand Tour, Hothouse Flowers are in the ascendant again. Hot Press went down to Vicar Street to see the band in action.

The Flowers get a raw deal. Yes, there has on occasion been an inescapable aura of lentils/bare feet off them, but on the other hand (foot?), they’ve made some fine records - I’d argue over pints that Songs From The Rain is one of the great lost Irish albums.

They’ve got soul, and no amount of magic bracelets or gypsy fairs are going to change that. Live, they’re always great, and tonight sees a celebration of their recent commercial kick in the arse from Jeremy Clarkson.

The seriously lunged Lisa Lambe supports, looking like a young Stevie Nicks dressed as a bishop, backed with tasteful restraint by a bunch of Flowers. 'Hazelwood' is a lovely song. She’s got something.

The one-two opening combo of 'See-line Woman' and 'Motherless Child', Nina Simone by way of Van Morrison, only adds weight to my Flowers-Got-Soul hypothesis. 'Love Don’t Work This Way' then segues into a mighty 'Si Do Mhamo í'. On 'This Is It (Your Soul)', Liam “Suibne Geilt” Ó Maonlaí doesn’t even bother with a microphone, controlling the room with a wave of his hand, and that voice, which remains a thing of wonder.

He dances, he howls, he plays the piano, he gives it some authentically Malian acoustic guitar on Afel Boucoum’s “Ali Farka”. Later, he delivered a baby and fixed my car, the marvellously talented bastard.

One could say he gave it socks throughout, if only he had brought a pair to give. Fiachna Ó Braonáin, a proper guitar player in the Steve Cropper tradition of listening as much as playing, also manages to burn the face off the first three rows armed only with a tin whistle, and I suspect Peter O’Toole could get a tune out of a ball of twine if you flung it at him. They don’t even bother with 'I Can See Clearly Now', although we do get the lovely 'Three Sisters' off the new album, and they close with a West Africa Highlife reworking of 'Don’t Go'.

Yes, it includes a drum solo, which there was no call for, but sure let them off. Leopardstown in July would be a good bet.

Joyous. Go and see them.


Related Articles

Hothouse Flowers, Kila to play Frank Murray memorial gig

The Hothouse Flowers and members of Kila will be among those playing a charity tribute in memory of the late roadie Frank 'White Stallion' Murray.

Read More

Féile An Phobail lineup announced

The music lineup for the Féile An Phobail, West Belfast has been confirmed.

Read More

Lark In The Park lineup confirmed

The line-up for the Lark In The Park open-air concert, which takes place on August 1, has been confirmed.

Read More

Hothouse Flowers deny rumours of a split

Hothouse Flowers are "still very much together" according to an official statement

Read More

Hothouse Flowers to headline charity gig

A host of Irish talent will come together on June 30 for a worthwhile fund-raising event in Navan

Read More

Liam O'Maonlai

Liam O Maonlai is a founder member and lead singer with the Hothouse Flowers whose fifth studio album, Into Your Heart has just been released. Along with the band’s guitarist Fiachna O Braonain, O Maonlai was one of the first of a new generation of Irish speakers to use the language widely, both at home and abroad.

Read More

Hothouse Flowers to play Paddy's Day instore in London

Hothouse Flowers will be celebrating Paddy's Day with an instore performance at HMV Oxford St.

Read More

Return of the bloomtown rats

Don’t go, they said. but they didn’t follow their own advice. Now, after much professional and personal upheaval, the Hothouse Flowers are back, once more in love with the idea of “ringin’ the bell”.

Read More

Into Your Heart

Now with a ‘Best Of’ compilation under their belts and following the slightly experimental slant of their 1998 comeback Born, this fifth studio album sees the Flowers return with what they claim is their most raw and soulful collection to date.

Read More

Hothouse Flowers back to busking!

To launch their new single 'Your Love Goes On', the Hothouse Flowers will return to their early days of busking in the city, with a lunchtime gig on Friday January 16 on Grafton Street, Dublin.

Read More

A busy year ahead for Hothouse Flowers

In conjunction with their new album released in February, Hothouse Flowers will play a series of dates around the country

Read More

Greatest Hits

From their earliest days busking in Grafton Street as The Benzini Brothers, to their most recent incarnation as a trio, there has always been a freshness about the Hothouse Flowers and their material.

Read More

This Is It.

Hothouse Flowers: “This Is It.” (London)

Read More

Home Run

It is, of course, exceedingly easy to ridicule the Flowers. Hardly Irish modernists they've often come across as dream-dazed in their Celtic haze, a band whose emotions have outstripped their creative sense and whose neo-hippie leanings actually owe less to Timothy Leary, San Francisco et al than to the juvenilia of the early Yeats before he most belatedly lost both his virginity and feyness at 29.

Read More

Advertise With Us

For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below


Find us elsewhere