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Review: Hozier (Camden Roundhouse)

Hozier really does have more than one song. And boy, they're good!

Review: Hozier (Camden Roundhouse)

Andrew Hozier-Byrne, AKA Hozier

James Gilmore

W!ZARD News Author

Even the thought of seeing Hozier, one of the hottest new acts on the music scene as of late, is one that blew my mind. When purchasing tickets for his Roundhouse gig earlier this year (which, at the time, was his only London date this summer) I was ecstatic, finally the opportunity to hear these incredible tunes belted out live. It turns out, I wasn’t alone – demand was so high that he added a further two dates in London to his tour schedule. And, we weren’t disappointed.

The experience of Hozier live is one that excites all of your senses; it’s a truly immersive show. Hozier’s deep, poetic voice is (literally) music to your ears and the lighting sets the ambience perfectly. The stage, surrounded by light bulbs which pulse to the beat of the drums is otherwise nearly bare. Apart from his band, light bulbs and Hozier himself, there is very little else on stage. All other lighting is from up above or hidden behind instruments, but it still makes a very big impact. No matter if you’re at the front or at the back, you feel like you are apart of the jam.

The lack of set means that there is no distraction to the sensation sound that is Hozier. You find your eyes fixated on his 6 foot 5 self as he towers over everybody else, singing the words to your favourite tunes.

Opening up with 'Angel of Small Death and The Codeine Scene' seems to make perfect sense. The ballad, which has its frequent changes in pace, sets the theme for the rest of the evening – with a selection of chilled out tunes varying in hype and speed. For some songs (such as the crowd favourite ‘Jackie and Wilson’ and ‘Someone New’) he performs them slightly faster than recorded, but for others (such as the beautiful ‘In A Week’ which he performs live with Alana Henderson, Irish singer-songwriter who doubles up as his Cello-ist) are slowed down and stripped back. A moment you get to experience, one-on-one with Hozier himself.

For a musician who is relatively new to the mainstream scene and with only one album released, he finds it surprisingly easy to fill an hour and a half’s stage time. Drifting between fan favourites and his own favourites (including one or two covers in the mix), the whole experience feels entirely natural and ‘mean to be’. Even some more unlikely covers – such as one of ‘Problem’ by Ariana Grandé & Iggy Azalea which he promises is just for ‘funsies’.

The choice to end with his Number 1 hit record, ‘Take Me To Church’ (before shortly returning for an encore) is another clever one. Regardless as to whether your opinion of that song is that it’s hugely overplayed and his other music is entirely underrated, when you hear the opening chords being played you can’t help but smile. It’s fun and feels new, although you know the lyrics backwards and in twelve different languages.

The only sad element of the performance was that it felt like 95% of the audience were there to see a single, 4 minute song with many chants for ‘Take Me To Church’. As a fan of his entire album, I didn’t feel like that was entirely fair on him, but when he did deliver the tune – it was big, bold and the placement of it showed that he was as attached to it as a spoon on a little boys nose (i.e. not very).

Overall, a hugely enjoyable experience which I would recommend to any fan of modern day guitar music. I would urge you to buy tickets to any of his future gigs, if they aren’t sold out yet…

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