June 19, 2015
Gaining mass popularity for his mega-hit “Take Me To Church” and coming off his performance for thousands at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, some music fans may have been skeptical about Andrew Byrne’s, also known as Hozier, meteoric rise to fame—but there’s truth behind the hype: Hozier is more than a one hit wonder.
The blazing sun finally set behind the Uptown Amphitheater Wednesday night, giving concert goers a much needed respite from the near record-breaking heat, and just as the breeze began to blow, Hozier graced us all with his cool, smooth vocals, opening up his set with “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene.”
Hozier picked up the pace a bit with a couple of upbeat poppy numbers, and at this point, the fans were intrigued; his voice was smooth as butter, commanded attention, and was downright sexy. The appeal to all the late-teens and early-20s ladies who made up the majority of the audience is understandable; the long-sleeved button up he wore with a few buttons undone coupled with his messy, curly brown locks are only an enhancement—the man looks like he belongs on the cover of GQ.
By the fourth song, “To Be Alone”, the audience was enraptured. Hozier, backed by a nearly all-female band, exuded a cool, bluesy sound with rock and roll worthy rifts. The man is a performer, and he’s supported by a team equally as talented.
Hozier’s well-crafted and relatable lyrics bring a sense of familiarity to even the casual listener. “Someone New” is sure to strike a chord with every lovestruck lady in the audience; we’ve all been there, and listening to Hozier sing the words is honestly like gazing upon your reflection in the mirror.
The highlight of the evening was when Hozier brought the incredibly talented Alana Henderson—also a native of Ireland—who plays cello in Hozier’s touring band, to the front of the stage. The duo, the stage’s only adornments at that moment, sang a beautiful, yet dark and morbid tune about love and “doing what lovers do best”; in short, it was captivating. The acoustic set proved the raw talent that graced the stage in front of us.
You know you’re in the presence of musical greatness when the band returns for an encore to play something “just for fun.” Completely ignoring what could be construed as Top 40-pop nonsense that the label machines churn out these days, Hozier covered Ariana Grande’s (featuring Iggy Azalea) “Problem.” It was far from the over-produced version you hear on the radio; the cover was done flawlessly, with style, and with a bluesy grace that only he could’ve accomplished with both a straight face and the great delight of the audience. His ability to take a song most adults would usually skip through and make it engaging and fun was genuinely enthralling and wildly entertaining. The crowd was eating from the palm of his hands.
The show wrapped up with “Work Song”, the kind of tune every girl wants a boy to write about her, and it was welcomed with quite the fanfare—second only to the singer-songwriter’s biggest hit.
With a collection of originals and a spattering of covers, overall, the show was entertaining and worth every dime of the price of admission. Hozier is an artist that, rightfully so, appeals to the masses and deserves his place on the stage.