Thursday 28 November 2002

The Venue Douglas Isle of Man

Liam O’Maonlai(from the band’s Official Guestbook)The Isle of Man is a great place.

A great band there called Stinging of Bigness. Good people. Alright.


The evening was a star studded affair with Caroline and Andrea Corr in the DJ Booth but the real talent emanated from the stage. Proceedings were catastrophically delayed due to the Main Soundesk failing to work some 3 HOURS before the gig and there not being a spare one!!! The concert would have had to have been cancelled had it not been for ANGLIN BUTTERMORE and his very professional approach to the situation and offering all his own equipment which had to be dragged in from Peel. Those who arrived dead on 8 pm will have still heard Stinging soundchecking!Anyhow the show went on. HOTHOUSE FLOWERS Liam strutted on the stage with such grace, wearing a hippie-looking multi-coloured hooded top and bright orange baggy pantaloons. They opened with ‘This Is It (Your Soul)’ (HFLIVE – they didn’t – it was ‘Christchurch Bells) off ‘Songs from the Rain’. A wonderful introduction to the most amazing setlist that essentially flowed with the mood and feel of the evening. The band are famed for not having setlists so one never knows what will be next.


They ran through obvious favourites like ‘Christchurch Bells’ and ‘Movies’. A stunning and heartfelt Emotional Time which saw Liam flitting between centre stage and keyboards (also loaned by Anglin!) and a wonderful ‘You Can Love Me Now’. ‘I’m Sorry’, ‘Love Don’t Work This Way’ and ‘It’ll Be Easier In The Morning’ all got an airing and stepped the gear up. It was at this stage of the proceedings and almost 90 mins into the show that Triskel took the opportunity to give Fiachna a birthday cake with Manx gaelic greetings on it for him. The cake is being taken on the rest of the tour and will be consumed at the last gig!! A couple more songs and they finished what was now a 2 hr set!!! I met them backstage knowing they had not played one particular classic thinking maybe they had called it a night.Not so,they all looked round and with beaming smiles said… “we are just starting!!” and ran back out on stage from the Dressing Room!
They followed this with my favourite song by them ‘Hallelujah Jordan’ which started slow and really rocked. The next half hour flew by and before we knew it we were in the middle of a reggae ‘Dont’Go’, their most classic hit.

Spontaneously the first few rows of women started invading the stage and the song went on and on and changed tempo. Those who got up were so ecstatic,some dancing slowly with Liam. This song suitably brought to a close this marathon gig. Hard to believe they would be flying back to Birmingham to do all this again Friday night in Wolverhampton. A very special personal gig which I have no doubt was very different to other shows. We were treated to one of the finest celtic bands around. Nicer musicians you would be hard pressed to meet. I hope the crowd were as happy and proud as I was that night. The party carried on next door into the early hours and when they decided to get a few hours sleep before the flight, I was surprised and flattered that they each hugged me and expressed what a great couple of days they had had. All pics taken by local resident Trevor Burgess. He will have his site up and running shortly for you to see his other great work. Thanks again go to Anglin Buttermore, Andy James and Karl Tully as well as Dave and Daniel of the Venue and all the door folk and barstaff.

Hazel Faragher of wrote:
We arrived via a rip-off taxi at 8.30pm and sauntered straight to the bar, before finding a table and taking in the pre-Hothouse atmosphere. A fair few people were already milling about, generally looking relaxed, chatty, and slightly excited. The Venue had floor to ceiling screens to shut out the stage from our view, and it was soon obvious why, as during the intervals between songs it was clear to hear support band Stinging With Bigness were still sound checking – apparently the Sound desk refused to work 3 hours before the show and Mr Anglin Buttimore saved the day by bringing all his own equipment in (all the way from Peel!) to replace it – so the show thankfully went on. By 9pm the atmosphere was hotting up, all the tables were packed with excited faces, as the Venue DJ shouts, “This is the Venue!” – actually mate – we knew that. But cheers anyway. Stinging With Bigness continued sound checking right until the last minute, when the screens were taken away to reveal the man himself – Mr Lenny Conroy (the promoter of the gig) on stage. Dressed in his trademark all black he egged the crowd up and thanked us all for attending before asking us to give a warm hand to Stinging With Bigness. SWB launched into a real rocker – ‘As You Said To Me’ one of their own brilliant originals and immediately had the crowd in the palm of their hand – a great sound. They followed that with another original “Hanging Around” before they threw in a cover of Paul Weller’s “Sunflower” – that was a stunning piece, almost identical to Mr Weller’s sound – in fact, having seen Paul Weller live I think I preferred SWB’s version –

 Thursday 28th November, 2002The Venue, Douglas, Isle of Man

Christchurch Bells
An Emotional Time
This Is It (Your Soul)/Rock Me Baby
Be Good/I’m Sorry
Floating/Hard To Be A Man
Easier In The Morning
Isn’t It Amazing
She Moves Through The Fair
Magic Bracelets
End Of The Road
Trying To Get Through
Si Do Mhamo I/Banished Misfortune/Blueblossom Bush/The Salamanka Reel
Feel Like Living
You Can Love Me Now
Suspicious Minds
Autumn Winds/Armaggedon
Happy Birthday
Hallelujah Jordan
Don’t Go

Hazel’s Review continues….Mr Weller tends to sound exactly like his CD’s – too perfect if you know what I mean. Next up a Stereophonics cover – ‘Traffic’ – I was really impressed by this one, singer Danny Christian’s vocals really displayed themselves here, not usually a “gravely” voice he had Kelly’s tones off perfectly.Next up was a Gomez number ‘Free To Run’ – not my favourite band those around me assured me it was never-the-less an excellent choice, then Danny suddenly screamed at a gig-goer – “Paul SALISBURY!!!” – yup, well spotted dude. Two lovely covers later (Coldplay & Supergrass) they finished off with three more originals – ‘Falling Down’, ‘Let The Daylight In’ and ‘Believe It Now’ – the reaction of the crowd was stunning considering the usual lukewarm reactions most original pieces draw and off stage they tumbled to huge applause as Lenny made his way back up again to thank Stinging With Bigness and pump the crowd up a bit more for the imminent appearance of the stars of the show. 40 minutes of piped music later Hothouse Flowers vocalist Liam O’Maonlai finally stalked onto the stage wearing baggy orange pants and a multi-coloured hooded waistcoat (loosely based on an American flag, I think) – joined by the rest of the band they grabbed their instruments and begun – I thought they made a mistake here – they should have launched in with a real rocker, but instead they chose a slowish ‘This Is It’ – which although a nice tune was a slightly disappointing start to what was ultimately a great evening. Liam, with the hood of his waistcoat pulled over his head started dancing like a loon – that man truly is a great frontman, the crowd were quick to follow, all immediately piling right to the front of the stage – although the two Corrs (Andrea & Caroline) in attendance sat rather staidly and boringly in the DJ box to the disappointment of the male gig-goers! The band quickly made up for the disappointing start as they spun off ‘Movies’, ‘Christchurch Bells’ and a hauntingly beautiful ‘Emotional Time’ – during which Liam took to th keyboards and the guitarist’s lovely 12-string complemented him magically. Just then Lenny Conroy appeared back on stage with a huge Celtic inscribed cake for Birthday boy Fiachna O’Braonain and as one the crowd chanted “Happy Birthday” (OK, so his Birthday was actually on Wednesday but what the hell!) – the cake is to be taken on tour with them and eaten after their last tour date I believe! ‘It’ll Be Easier In The Morning’ was arguably the best track of the evening – starting slowly it built up to a huge uplifting crescendo – the band were so tight and professional and the applause from the crowd was deafening – hands in the air, clapping, whistling and foot-stamping showed their appreciation. Just then they thanked us all – with their most famous track as yet unplayed – and trooped off stage – the crowd KNEW that track would have to be played and continued cheering – before they all trooped back out and the familiar chords of “Hallelujah Jordan” began – another well-loved and received classic – a few later came the moment we had all been waiting for – the familiar notes of ‘Don’t Go’- played in a Latin American style it was truly magical – half the female audience jumped up on stage to slow-dance with Liam, and the song went on and on – I hoped it would never end, the entire audience were dancing and singing – it was one of those “moments” that don’t come very often. The applause for that unbelievable performance also went on and on – I’ve not seen such an appreciative audience on the Island, but Christ those boys deserved it! A fantastic performance by both Stinging With Bigness and Hothouse Flowers – even better than I anticipated, once again all credit to Triskel Promotions for organising the gig – ayethangyou!

– Stinging With Bigness (from Official Guestbook)
Just a note to say hello and thanks for making us feel so welcome at the Isle of Man gig in November. It was great to meet the most down to earth guys in the business. Thanks for the advice and cheers for the beers! SWB.