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Live Review: Hozier
The latest material from Hozier blends seamlessly with his renowned indie hits within a live setting, creating a remarkable on-stage experience, Matthew Johnson reviews
Hozier performed on the 9th of December at the O2 Academy in Birmingham to a sold out arena, before heading off to London to perform on the 11th and 12th of December. His UK tour ended on 6 successive shows across Ireland and in Belfast to round off 2018 on a high note, advertising the new material he released over the prior two months.
“Hozier appeared to a roaring and ready audience, and opened with a crowd pleaser ‘Like Real People Do’ to great reception
Hozier appeared to a roaring and ready audience, and opened with a crowd pleaser ‘Like Real People Do’ to great reception. The sound system and organisation of the event was on point, and was exemplified by his powerful performance of ‘Nina Cried Power’ - the lead song from his most recent EP . On a personal note, I had to say that this live version breathed new life into a song which I personally believed the studio version to be underwhelming. I was happily proven wrong as his explosive vocals and acoustic approach electrified the 3,000 strong crowd, showing his vocal diversity and his band’s range of banging sounds. Following this ballad of strong individual vocal moments, Hozier played a hit from his first album which really got people moving - ‘Jackie and Wilson’. The studio version is already incredible, but the live rendition gave me goosebumps as he kicked the crowd into gear.
“Every word was sung along by the adoring audience
Hozier closed his set with three incredibly powerful tunes which got the whole crowd involved in singing along. His improvised version of ‘Someone New’ was outstanding, using a drum line absent from the studio version to amplify the rhythm of the track, and giving more isolation to his strong vocal performance of the popular tune. Following this, he played his new single ‘Movement ’- his 'favourite song' of all his new material, he said. Being new, only a few people knew all the words, but for sure it's the song everyone was singing on their walk home that evening. The lighting work deserved great applause because it really set the scene for Hozier to stand alone at the front of the stage and pour his heart and soul into the powerful chorus: ‘So move me baby/ Shake like the bough of a willow tree/ You do it naturally/ Move me baby’. This single is an absolute must for fans of the songs ‘From Eden’ and ‘Work Song’ as it delivers the slow and passionate Hozier vocals we have grown to adore over the 4 years since his previous album. Hozier ended his set with the crowd favourite ‘Take Me to Church’, to which every word was sung along by the adoring audience, and, having heard the studio version a million times, I still got absolute goosebumps as the song built towards an absolutely outstanding climax.
“When his set ended there was sheer disbelief, I heard people all around me dazed by the sheer power of his performance, yet we would expect nothing less from Hozier
When his set ended there was sheer disbelief, I heard people all around me dazed by the sheer power of his performance, yet we would expect nothing less from Hozier, as he delivered in every aspect. To be noted, he took great time throughout the set to repeatedly thank his band, Suzanne Santo, and the audio/ lighting team which made the event possible, and, when they came out to bow at the end, he made sure everyone involved was on stage receiving the applause they so greatly deserved. This was a truly exceptional gig, and I’m certain the gig in the Olympia Theater in Dublin will be absolutely electric due to the history behind the venue itself, coupled with its compact acoustics.
'Movement' is available now via Rubyworks Limited.