Rain cools off Hothouse Flowers

A review of Hothouse Flowers at the Lowell Summer Music Series on August 15, 2008

, Managing Editor

The show must go on… but maybe it shouldn’t have. The Hothouse Flowers played outside in Lowell on a miserable, rainy night when the show most definitely should have been moved inside or postponed. The band did all they could to entertain the low turnout but it wasn’t enough as the rain put a huge damper on the evening, preventing fans from really getting drawn into the performance.

The Irish lads brought a whole set worth of cheesy little love songs that they continued to turn into lengthy jam sessions, making them sound like a shabby John Mayer. They started the night off with "Your Love Goes On" from their most recent album Into Your Heart. The song didn’t quite thrill the crowd as an opening song should, proven by singer/keyboardist Liam Ó Maonlaí’s failed attempt to stir the crowd when he approached the front of the stage.&

"Be Good (Wholly Loving Eyes)" preceded "It’ll Be Easier in the Morning", which Liam claimed was a song that has helped a lot of people who have been incarcerated. The band paused for a lengthy period to add effect to the song but it came off a little awkward. "This Is It (Your Soul)", another inspiring, self-help type of song, came next with the band repeating, "Let the light shine from the inside out" as they jammed out towards the ending.

Liam commented that it was a "beautiful night… a sultry night… a night for kissing", which oddly didn’t sound as sarcastic as it should have, before the Flowers played "Forever More". Next, guitarist Fiachna Ó Braonáin grabbed an acoustic for the soft ballad "Sweet Marie", then starting slow and soft again on "I’m Sorry", which had a harder finish.&

The crowd then sang along to the Flowers’ cover of "I Can See Clearly Now", wishing their words were true as the rain fell even harder. The band put more of an edge to the song than the original version and had some fans and Liam bopping along. After "You Can Love Me Now" the dancing continued as people shook off the rain up front to "Don’t Go". The band members were introduced during the song with each musician getting his time to shine after their name was called.

The band would take off for just a minute before delivering an encore of traditional Irish music that proved to be the most entertaining part of the set. Singing a song in Gaelic followed by a long instrumental breakdown, the band showed off another side of them, a more talented side. The traditional tunes sounded much better than their pop stuff, which is a shame because they didn’t get to play enough.
Although Friday night in Lowell was far from perfect, the Hothouse Flowers proved that they do have some diehard fans that were willing to sit through hours of heavy rain. The band didn’t get to play the two sets they were scheduled for but I’m sure their fans were just happy that they got to hear them at all.&

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