22:00 Saturday 24th June 2000
Hothouse Flowers have played at Glastonbury a number of times. Their best appearance was at their popular heights in the early '90s on the Pyramid Stage, when they captivated the crowd with their commitment to the festival itself, their talent and an uplifting rendition of 'I Can See Clearly Now'. Subsequent years have seen the Flowers performance and spirit wilt somewhat.
This year relegation to the Acoustic Tent was probably a good move, as the smaller environment meant that the committed fans could see Hot House Flowers up close and personal. This is clearly the way to see them nowadays. The thing is, they still have the talent and ability to move you with their songs, but they are relying on their old material. The die hard fans are thus happy, as are those who never knew Hot House Flowers ten years ago. Although we weren't able to see their whole set (they were late on), the lack of new songs early on meant that we weren't too sad to leave for other delights.
Having said all that their performance this year was great. They were a small tight trio, with two acoustic guitars, a keyboard and their customary bodhran. Lead singer, keyboard and bodhran player Liam OMaonlai used his powerful voice to full effect, though at times he muttered frustratingly. The guitarists performance was excellent and, yes, up-lifting at times. Superb renditions of 'Hallelujah Jordan' and 'Give it up' got the crowd dancing, though they needed little encouragement. The appreciation of the crowd infected the band who grinned as they went into complex duets, showing their musical talent off with ease.
This was a great gig, with good music, songs and atmosphere. It simply seemed to lack something: perhaps because of the lack of new material or perhaps because of the relegation from the Pyramid Stage. Lets hope Hothouse Flowers keep fighting on, because their mix of celtic rhythm and soul is performed with extreme grace which certainly continues to inspire audiences.
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