Hozier – Vector Arena November 5, 2015


DSC_6238The Irish musical phenomenon known as Hozier rolled into town to play one sold-out show at the Vector Arena. It’s been little over a year since Andrew Hozier-Byrne released his debut album, but already he is able to draw huge crowd thanks to the success of his hit, Take Me To Church. The question is…can he sustain an audience’s attention for the length of a concert?

The answer, in short, is a resounding “Yes!”

The lanky musician and his 6-piece band took the stage at 9pm to some very loud cheers, from the predominantly female audience.

“Very good to see you too”, he responded.

There were more screams as he plucked the first notes of Like Real People Do on his electric guitar.

As far as the band goes, Hozier has gone all Justin Trudeau on us and brought along a half-female/half male contingent featuring Alex Ryan on bass and Rory Doyle on drums, both of whom played on the album. Additionally, we heard keyboard player Mia Fitzgerald, Alana Henderson on cello and backing vocalists Lorraine Barnes and Karen Cowley.

Fans will recognize Cowley’s name as the voice who duets with Hozier on the song In A Week. They, of course, reprised that performance tonight…just the two of them and 10,000 fans waving their arms in the air.

I was expecting a rather sedate affair, but Hozier’s music carries much more bite in a live setting than his recordings would signal. The guitar and drum interplay on the rather funky Jackie And Wilson sounded like something closer to The Black Keys than an Irish folk musician.

And Hozier’s voice is an impressive instrument as well, singing with the conviction of a Pentecostal preacher on tunes like Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he was preaching to the converted. The audience cheered and clapped along to every song. The two teenage girls sitting next to me knew the words to every song Hozier sang, except, possibly The Beatles’ Blackbird.

Yes, with only one album, Hozier filled his hour plus with a couple of covers. He gave Paul McCartney’s Blackbird a sweet treatment thanks to Henderson’s cello solo and some lovely vocal harmonies from the band.

The other cover was a bit more contemporary…Ariana Grande’s Problem came as something of a surprise during the encore. Hozier restrained from rapping and gave the song an extra dimension by adding his own style. That one was “just for fun”, he told the crowd.

There was a strong blues vein that ran through many of Hozier’s tunes, particularly To Be Alone, which allowed the artist tom show off his guitar playing chops.

It was clear by the end of his 80-minute show that the man is very talented.

Yes, some guys just make it look easy…sing like a bird, play guitar like Clapton, put out one album and sell out arenas and write songs that sell millions.

No, I’m not jealous…not at all.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:

Hozier set list:

  1. Like Real People Do
  2. Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene
  3. From Eden
  4. Jackie And Wilson
  5. To Be Alone
  6. Someone New
  7. Blackbird
  8. It Will Come Back
  9. In A Week
  10. Arsonist’s Lullabye
  11. Sedated
  12. Take Me To Church
  13. Cherry Wine
  14. Problem
  15. Work Song