plus special guests
Hothouse Flowers formed in 1985 when Liam Ó Maonlaí and Fiachna Ó Braonáin (who had known each other as children in an Irish-speaking school, Coláiste Eoin) began performing as street musicians, or buskers, on the streets of Dublin, Ireland as “The Incomparable Benzini Brothers“. They were soon joined by Peter O’Toole, and had won a street-entertainer award within a year. They renamed the group “Hothouse Flowers” (the name was suggested by singer Maria Doyle Kennedy during a brain-storming by band-members and friends in the Trinity College Arts Block cafe) and began writing songs and performing throughout Ireland. Rolling Stone magazine called them “the best unsigned band in Europe“.
In 1986 Bono from the band U2, saw the Flowers performing on television and offered his support. They released their first single, “Love Don’t Work This Way”, on U2’s Mother Records label, which quickly led to a deal with the PolyGram subsidiary London Records.Their first album, People was released in May 1988, and was the most successful debut album in Irish history. It reached the #1 slot in Ireland within a week and eventually reached #2 in the UK Albums Chart. The group’s second album, Home was released in June 1990. It was recorded sporadically during extensive touring; with sessions in Dublin, London, a rented house with a mobile recording set-up in Carlow, Ireland, and one day of work with Daniel Lanois in New Orleans, while Bob Dylan was taking a break from his sessions with Lanois. The album did not have the overwhelming success of the first record, but it did reach #1 in Australia. The two singles from the album, “Give It Up” and “I Can See Clearly Now” (a cover version of the Johnny Nash song) reached #30 and 23 respectively in the UK Singles Chart.
Songs From the Rain was released in March 1993. Though it received excellent reviews and achieved very respectable chart success in Australia and Ireland, worldwide sales did not meet label expectations. In an attempt to boost record sales (and especially to break in to the United States charts), the record label and the band’s management kept the group on the road almost continuously for the entire year. The band also participated in the Another Roadside Attraction tour in Canada that year, and collaborated with The Tragically Hip, Crash Vegas, Midnight Oil and Daniel Lanois on the one-off single “Land” to protest forest clearcutting in British Columbia.
By early 1994, Ó Maonlaí had decided that the group was suffering from physical, mental and creative exhaustion, and he called for a year-long sabbatical.
The year-long break turned into several years, as the band members recouped their energy and experienced changes in their personal lives, including divorces, marriages, the birth of children and the death of Ó Maonlaí’s father. The group also split from their long-time manager, and Leo Barnes (saxophone) and Jerry Fehily (drum kit) left the group. O’Toole and ó Braonáin spent some of their time off from the Hothouse Flowers recording and touring with Michelle Shocked. Ó Maonlaí worked with Tim Finn and Andy White, while also studying traditional Irish music.
In May 1998 they released Born. Joined by Wayne Sheehy on drums and Rob Malone on bass guitar, this album contained extensive songwriting contributions from O’Toole, who (freed from his bass responsibilities) played mostly guitar, bouzouki and keyboards on the recording. The music also incorporated more elements of electronic loops, synthesizers and studio effects. The following month, they appeared at the 1998 Glastonbury Festival.
By 1999 they had reached the end of their contract with London Records, and both the label and the band decided not to renew. The label head allowed the group the rights to record songs from their past London releases and produce a live record. Live was self-released by the group later that year, taken mostly from an October 1998 show in the National Stadium, Dublin, with one track from a November show in Tokyo. Sheehy and Malone left the group shortly after the release of the record. Dave Clarke, formerly of Blue in Heaven, joined on drums and O’Toole returned to the bass.
In February 2004 the band released their latest album, Into Your Heart, produced by the band and John Reynolds. The first single, “Your Love Goes On”, reached #3 on the Irish charts. The album also reached #3 on the Irish Album Chart. The record was released on the RubyMusic label in Europe and distributed by Redeye in the United States. They have toured extensively in support of the record, including a performance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2004. Peter O’Toole left the band around this time but after a long sabbatical recently made a much-welcomed return to the band
AFTER THE GIG:
Whelan’s Indie DJ in the bar and Sonntags [Disco/House/Funk] upstairs from 11pm til late (Free Entry).