WORDS AND IMAGE BY CYRUS NURY, STAFF WRITER
Okay, let’s just be real for a quick sec: “Driving to the city on a THURSDAY during RUSH HOUR is always a good idea. ” SAID NO ONE EVER. But somehow I always find myself stuck in these sorts of situations for one reason or another. So naturally, it comes as no surprise that I agreed to attend a Hozier concert on a Thursday night in Manhattan. “Wait so why are we going to this show again?” I asked my friend George. I mean I hadn’t even heard of the guy before. When George called me in August, tickets were going for $40. Now they were at more than $400, and that was just on Stubhub.
Fast forward an hour. Lights up and Hozier comes on stage. The crowd. The noise. The energy. It’s all there. Standing in the back of the theater DAF (drunk as fuck), I can feel myself immediately immersed in his words. Budweiser in one hand, camera rolling in the other and it's an amazing feeling. Hozier’s voice fills the space and there is an intense euphoria going around. Now I understand why it was all worth the wait. There is a passion and energy in his voice that I truly have never experienced at any other live show before. My favorite aspect of Hozier’s show was his performance style; what I like to call sing-speak. To put it another way, his words are directed towards the audience, as we hum along with him. It’s more like he’s preaching a sermon. After all Hozier is the Irish word for preacher (jk jk, not actually true).
Hozier’s music has been described as a mix between R&B, Gospel, and Blues. Whatever that means, I don’t know but man but he certainly pulls it off like no one else…seriously though. His voice really seems to epitomize the struggles with falling in love, something that he has referred to in his lyrics.
In “Angel of Small Death and the Codine scene” Hozier brings to the audience an emotional longing which alludes to his inner liberation of the soul. “Take me to Church” also illustrates a similar metaphor. Looking back now I am amazed at the simplicity of Hozier’s performance. That is to say minimal lighting and staging effects. Even the way he dresses: white T, corduroy jacket, and solid black pants. There is no need for pizzazz or flashy colors. The focus is all on him, his voice, and his words. And for a second I feel almost alone, as though there is no one else around me.
So there you have it. A young artist making his way up the fame ladder. And yet he does not even mention the number of shows he’s already performed. One could say Hozier is indeed a humble man. Hozier’s rapid rise to stardom has undoubtedly been due to a new approach in creating a unique blend between blues and soft rock music. I heard him on the radio recently and could still not believe how popular he has already become in the United States.
Signing off, Hozier gives the audience one last beat to the tune of “To be Alone” and a kiss goodbye. For having zero expectation at the beginning of his show, I was truly blown away by this performance.