LIVE: The Hotelier @ The Dome, London

By Sean Littlewood

There was such¬†intrusive emotiveness to The Hotelier’s second album ‘Home, Like Noplace Is There’, that when the band began playing songs from it¬†live, they took an¬†absolute hold of their¬†audience in a way that only happen with a certain kind of band.

‘Goodness’ was more positively a slow burner. It was broader, the ideas more complex, and its slightness required a different kind of ear and mind. Tonight, eight months after¬†its release, those songs feel¬†more ready to share¬†than they ever have, as Christian Holden presents a carefully devised setlist that ties¬†together¬†everything great¬†the seminal band has produced.

After a¬†vigorous, excellent display from support act Crying, “An Introduction To The Album” opens to an instantly¬†warming crowd.¬†Every word is thrown back at the stage in affection, which becomes a theme for the entirety of the evening. People really care about these songs, and¬†that manages to inspire a very special¬†response whenever they are¬†heard in this way. There’s sweat, passion¬†and most importantly upmost respect being shown¬†forthe¬†songs and the fragile feelings inside them.

Songs from ‘Goodness’ form a major part of the bands set, and they are performed without flaw. Holden’s body seems to eject them out¬†as if he’s been holding them inside his chest to share with everyone, and as the band¬†tear¬†through Two Deliverences into¬†Piano player they sound¬†delicate, ardent and wild all at the same time.

Not many words are required from Holden, but he chooses them wisely. He gives a brief, heartfelt message of solidarity during a tense, dark time politically, offering that only times such as these grant the possibility for genuine social response and change.

The songs played from ‘Home..’ feel especially fitting in this context. They are extremely personal, yet manage to connect the feelings of so many different people with burning¬†directness. The¬†instant response to every line sung by Holden, and¬†the overbearing feeling that this is a band who are reaching the heights of what they are capable of, goes to show the rarity and importance of a night like this.

The Hotelier are clearly capable of¬†the kind of brilliance that doesn’t come around too often, something genuinely honest and affecting. Tonight was just a small, perfect taste of that.