You may already know this, but The Hotelier are no ordinary band. They are indescribable, hard to categorize and for many reasons one of the most intelligent and uniquely engrossing bands currently doing the alternative music rounds. From their first trip over to the UK back in 2015 to their show stealing performance supporting Into It. Over It last year, the band’s reputation and appeal has grown and grown and resulted in a sold out show at the Tufnell Park Dome. For a band that exists under no particular label, that’s quite the achievement. Tonight is a testament and in many ways a celebration of how powerful music can be when it is created with substance over style in mind.
The thing that stands out most about the band as they take to the stage is their vulnerability. There is no fanfare or big entrance, just four mild mannered, quietly spoken men sliding their instruments on and waiting for the right time to begin. Even when things don’t go quite to plan technically, they approach things with a level but anxious attitude. When they let themselves hang loose though, nobody does it better.
This night is such a triumph because of the care and consideration that the band have for how their setlist flows. When your musical output stretches across such a wide array of textures and emotions it can be hard to play them side-by-side in a way that works. Where 14’s ‘Home Like No Place Is There’ was a damning and difficult listen concerning life’s darkest demons, last year’s ‘Goodness’ was beautifully invigorating snapshot of what its like to love and be in love. Two very contrasting but very human stances that on paper couldn’t be more different but can blend together beautifully when given the correct levels of care.
The intoxicating poetry of ‘An Introduction To The Album’ and shirt tugging desolation of ‘The Scope Of All Of This’ sit snuggly against the beautifully sunny ‘Piano Player’ and ‘Soft Animal’. The guilt ridden and ambitious ‘Your Deep Rest’ works perfectly next to the shimmering ‘You In This Light’ It’s the push and pull that makes this performance so special. It lifts you up and then brings you crashing back down. It plays with your feelings in ways you didn’t think live music could, yet with every note perfect composition you feel the goosebumps down your arms intensify. You are trapped and you don’t want it to ever end.
An encore of ‘Goodness Pt.2’ and ‘Opening Mail For My Grandmother’ caps off what has been a momentous evening for The Hotelier and everyone there to witness it. These are the sort of shows that will be spoken about for days, months and years to come. See them by any means necessary.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)