Friday 18th March, 2005
Cope, Hothouse Flowers blossom on Allston stage (Excerpt)
In total contrast, the Hothouse Flowers played their Irish rock last Thursday night at the Paradise to a crowd of longtime fans. The Hothouse Flowers were psyched to be in their Irish home across the water and put on a great show. I've wanted to see the band ever since I saw lead singer Liam O Maonlai perform 'Feel Like Living' in a Massachusetts-produced feature film called 'The Busker'.
The Hothouse Flowers are four incredibly tight Irishmen. The band chose to play songs from their 2004 release 'Into Your Heart'. O Maonlai was a virtuoso, jumping, dancing, shaking, playing guitar and keyboards and singing with passion, a modern-day John Lennon. Lead and slide guitarist Fiachna O Braonain complemented O Maonlai's superb voice marvelously. The rhythm section was commanded by drummer Dave Clark and Kieran Kennedy replaced bassist and songwriter Peter O'Toole for this outing.
In addition to their latest material, the band played all of their known tunes such as 'This Is It', 'Don't Go' and 'Movies'. The band brought the crowd to its feet with the postmodern 'Hallelujah', O Maonlai singing around the refrain adding far more depth than on the CD.
The Hothouse Flowers music is sensual, thoughtful and participatory. O Maonlai becomes possessed with the music in the Jim Morrison way, with all the histrionics, pounding on the keys and grooving with his body and head. The music is electrical and down home, for example O Maonlai sings, "You can love me now. I need that something real. Take, take, me."
The encore began with great instrumentals, drum rolls, rambling guitars and a progressive build to a traditional Irish song 'Si Do Mhamo i'. The song obviously had a very spiritual meaning for O Maonlai. A couple broke out in a jig and the audience stamped their feet and clapped until the whole crowd became Irish. 'Peace Tonight', was remarkable and sung in a very high pitched voice.
The band indulged the fans with a second encore, playing 'Better Man'.
"I've loved them for a long, long time - spiritual, uplifting, got a good message," said Cindy Brennan of Cambridge.
Joining the audience in the corridor after the show, O Maonlai said, "Boston, there is a sense of home, never know who you meet, circles, extraordinary things every time."
By Matthew H. Berger/ Correspondent
The whole article includes a review of Clarence 'Cope' Greenwood the previous night at www.townonline.com