Hozier Concert Review


Andrew Hozier-Byrne is possibly the most talented man on the planet.

I'm a huge fan, so getting the opportunity to see him play live on his world tour last night was insane. I've been to plenty of concerts at Vector Arena, but I can honestly say this was one of the best.

Opening act - RHODES

 The opening act, British singer-songwriter Rhodes, captured the audience's attention instantly with his strong voice and soft guitar. Usually audience's aren't incredibly interested in the opening act, and I've never seen one react so quickly till last night. During his half-hour set, in which he accompanied himself with guitar, Rhodes played through several of his original songs off his album 'Wishes'.
 Audiences don't usually know the opening musician - a lot of them don't arrive till the main act is on - and even though the Vector crowd weren't familiar with his music, everyone was absolutely silent while he played, taking in his beautiful songs and impressive vibrato.

Then, after a half-hour intermission and two hours after we arrived, Hozier took the stage. He and his seven-piece band walked on and went straight into Like Real People Do. An amazing track to begin with, somehow getting the audience pumped for his show even with such a soft opening. 
Going straight into Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene, the mosh pit came to life around me, head-banging and swaying to the rhythms.

 Jackie and Wilson was amazing, one of my personal favourites of his, and clearly others' as the sold-out crowd clapped along. From Eden followed, complete with an added solo from the double-bass player. This was his first time in New Zealand, and he said that out of everywhere he's been on the tour, this was the place that felt most like home - him being from Ireland. "Small island nations, man" he said.

 The harmonies were insane - sometimes with seven people onstage singing at once. His cover of The Beatles' Blackbird was beautiful, a song I haven't heard many times, he made it entirely his own. Someone New brought the crowd to life again, his second most well-known song, everybody clapping along to it's strong live energy that can't be communicated over recordings. Gritty vibes came for It Will Come Back, another personal favourite, as he took a minute beforehand to discuss the meaning behind it. This was especially interesting, since his songs can be interpreted with so much depth, to hear his original take on it. While having a quick tea-break (yes, tea, not water) and switching guitars, he talked about how sometimes things don't work out, and you have to ask the one you love to do the brave thing and let you go.

 His old friend from Whitlow, Ireland, Karen Crowley, came to perform the duet In A Week with him, very exciting seeing as she is the singer from the original recording. The arena went mad for her soulful voice, and everyone was spellbound by the two. Most in the crowd held up their phone flashlights to create the image of stars around the arena - something I've never seen an audience do without the artist asking them to. He also discussed the meaning behind this song, based on the Whitlow Hills - beautiful and serene, yet seemingly only discussed when someone finds a corpse.
He stated this song was about "a couple who travelled somewhere very similar, to do what lovers do best" which is a hilarious intro into a song about a couple dying.

  Hozier kept the audience's attention throughout the whole show, acing every song; Sedated - funk-enthused and soul-bearing, Take Me To Church - everybody sang enthusiastically to that one, Arsonists' Lullaby - incredibly powerful, To Be Alone - in which he got us to sing the intro riff, and then in his encore; Cherry Wine - where, again, the cellphone lights came up. Continuing the encore into another cover, this time of Ariana Grande's Problem, which was hilarious simply because it was so amazing. He turned the heavy-beat pop song into a funk explosion, and left us wishing Ariana herself would sing that version as it was so catchy. He took a moment to congratulate the All Blacks on their win, wearing our flag around his shoulders, which created a frenzy of patriotic pride, before finishing the night with Work Song (which finally appeased the rowdy group behind me who had been chanting "play work song!!" all night). 

 Hozier is one insanely talented man, his voice live sounds just as amazing as, if not better than, the recordings, and his guitar skills should never be underestimated, there were at least five songs with added guitar solos in them, showing off his mad shredding skills. And of course, every song he writes is undeniably gorgeous, spanning topics from gay rights (his grammy-nominated chart topper) to abusive love (the serene and heart-breaking Cherry Wine). 
 Not just talented, he is the only artist I know to have directly mentioned rape culture in a song ("Never feel too good in crowds / with folks around / when they're playing / the anthems of rape culture loud / crude and proud / creatures baying. - To Be Alone).
Overall, it was a stunning concert, that made me feel 100% justified in my referral to Hozier as "a glorious, omnipotent force" to many people. I highly recommend his shows or music to anyone not familiar with it, his self-titled album was released last year and is available for free listening on Spotify - it is truly worth your time.

 Also, his man-bun is amazing.

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 - Disclaimer: no photos used in this post belong to me, all rights go to their respective owners.

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