- 11 Jun 18
Team HP decamped to the Irish Embassy in London recently to celebrate the UK leg of our covers exhibition, bringing to a close the end of our 40th birthday year celebrations.
Following an impassioned speech by ambassador Adrian O’Neill, an acoustic performance by Damien Dempsey and a Q&A which saw HP chief Niall Stokes grilled by Laura Whitmore, Nell’s in Hammersmith is the location to round off the night with a fine selection of tuneage.
The evening is opened by rising jazz and soul star NC Grey and her band who impress with a selection of tracks which drew heavily from latest outing The Magic EP. Slick numbers such as ‘Choose Me’ and ‘Holiday’ leave us in no doubt we will be hearing much more from the talented songstress.
Next up is London-based Mayo man Seamus Fogarty whose rootsy stylings give the evening a folkier hue. The sing-a-long factor is present in spades on favourites such as ‘Carlow Town' and ‘Train To Mexico’ - plus that man plays a mean harmonica!
And so to the penultimate performance courtesy of Damien Dempsey (with producer John Reynolds on drum duties) which somehow marries the reverence of a religious ceremony with the emotional exorcism of primal scream therapy.‘Sing All Our Cares Away’ and ‘Negative Vibes’ are as powerful as ever and when he is joined on stage by Liam O’Maonlai for a finale of ‘It’s All Good’ we are assured for a brief moment, life indeed is so.
Headliner time. The Hothouse Flowers have evolved over the years into a sonic organism with possible supernatural qualities. They have honed their set into a musical behemoth which seems to transcend time and space. The songs are steeped in soul and funk. There is an unspoken communion or telepathic exchange between O’Maonlai and his two main henchmen O’Braoinan and O’Toole which enables the songs to ebb and flow magically or spontaneously burst into a cathartic explosion. “Trying To Get Through’ is achingly potent and a Caribbean-flavoured ‘Don’t Go’ sends us dancing into the night.
Here’s to the next 40 years.