- 14 Jul 17
The Bulmers Live at Leopardstown concert series seems to be a good wheeze. Get the punters to enjoy the craic at the gee-gees, and it is good craic, then stick a band on stage out in the open, everyone will be suitably refreshed, and if the rain holds off, sure you can’t go wrong. When it came to the ponies, Hot Press used the tried and tested method of picking a horse with some sort of “rock” sounding name. Accordingly, a few quid was placed “each way” on Tara Dylan in the 7:30. 50-1? Lovely, more money for me when she romps home in triumph. When the Hothouse Flowers take to the boards nearly two hours later, I think I spot my glue bag just rounding the first corner.
You can tell a lot about a band from the way they walk on stage. If they shamble on, eyes fixed to the floor, you should probably head back to the bar. No such problems with the Flowers, who are all waves and smiles. Liam Treebeard Mac Cumhaill Ó Maonlaí carries a cup and a coffee pot, weary perhaps from travel and toil. He happily reveals to me later that it’s actually full of red wine, the card. Down to business with ‘This Is It (Your Soul)’, the opening track from 93’s lovely, warm and underrated Songs From The Rain, prompting grins and sways throughout a crowd who are very much in the mood. Debut single ‘Love Don’t Work This Way’, released back when God was in short trousers, follows. The “woos” from Liam give all the women of a certain age, actually, scratch that, all the women full stop, a fit of the vapours, and the band sound fantastic given the fact that we’re standing in a car park. Nina Simone’s ‘Sea Lion Woman’, gets Ó Maonlaí out from behind the keyboard to essay his patented “Jesus on E” dance steps and lead the crowd in some call and response action, no microphone required. He takes off his jacket and several young ones faint. I suspect that if, for some reason, you found yourself dissecting the man, you would find he has “star” stamped all the way through like a holiday stick of rock.
‘You Can Love Me Now’ and ‘Your Love Goes On’, with extra lyrics from one Robert Marley, spark a shape-throwing outbreak in the crowd. ‘Sweet Marie’ is just beautiful, rolling waves of sound coming off the stage, segueing into an extended Irish number. I would only embarrass myself, and the Christian Brothers who tried to beat the language into me, by trying to name it, but it does move something inside you. Nice guy Fiachna Ó Braonáin, whose guitar playing is as smooth as the voice that oozes out of a speaker tuned to his late night radio show, dances with Ó Maonlaí as he plays, it’s as if Mick and Keith had been packed off to the Gaeltacht as teenagers. Peter Bouzouki Joe O’Toole makes it look ridiculously easy through out, and the rhythm section of Dave Clarke and Martin Brunsden are almost telepathically groovy together.