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Concert review: Hozier makes dark subjects beautiful with lyrical storytelling

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Chances are if you’ve been a fan of the famous hit “Take Me To Church,” you have actually been saying Andrew Hozier-Bryne’s name wrong this whole time. Known as Hozier, his name is actually pronounced “Hoze-ee-air,” rather than rhyming it with “closure”.

Since the singer essentially took on the Pope with his gospel-inflected, fire-and-brimstone song — which criticizes organized religion while praising sex and love as a replacement — expectations for his concert at the LC Pavilion Tuesday night were high.

And he did not disappoint.

I was left dazed by his presence and astounded by his music.

Let me better explain my bewilderment. Music seems to have morphed into a factory-line that is constantly reproducing the latest trend in sound, becoming a prostituted art only concerned with earnings.

And for an art that was ultimately intended for acoustic and lyrical expression, all hope seemed to be lost. Until, in my opinion, artists like Hozier entered center stage. Of course artists like Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and Adele have been a part of this movement, but Hozier “really hit the ground running” in a sense.

Being from Ireland ,there’s no doubt that Van Morrison’s Celtic R&B is an influence but when combined with southern blues and a Black Keys style garage-rock, the true depth of Hozier’s music begins to shine.

The man of the night arrived in an eloquent manner, casually attired in black jeans and a light flannel shirt draped over his rather tall frame. His long curly brown locks flowed to the beat of his music.

His voice was sensational and it seemed to be more poítin-sweetened than whiskey soaked. It embraced tantalizing melodies and rougher rhythms with ease and confidence, making it utterly compelling.

There aren’t a lot of musicians in the world that can take morbid topics and turn them into beautiful and expressive melodies. But in his folky romance song “In a Week,” performed with cellist Alana Henderson, Hozier explained that the inspiration for the song came from Ireland’s Wicklow Hills — which you only hear about before or after the phrase “a body was found in…”

The pastoral fantasies about dying in a field alongside the one you love and the bodies being eaten by insects, could easily send emotions into a gloomy state. However, most of the audience was singing along captivated by his lyrics, or perhaps the better word is “story.”

Most critics label this hauntingly romantic song as a murder ballad or a suicide ballad, but I tend to disagree. After watching the performance and hearing the true emotion in his voice, I veer to believe the song is actually a gentle reflection on mortality.

The allowance of interpretation throughout his lyrics is where Hozier stands out among artists. He is, in his nature, a storyteller. His whole album seems to be crafted around his life experiences. This means he is a powerful communicator, that’s why he narrates stories throughout his lyrics. But, the most surprising part, is that people understand it and interpret their own meanings tailored to their own lives.

The biggest transformation in the music came as Hozier broke out into his song “Someone New,” which is ultimately about the vapid, vacuous nature of love. This was by far my favorite song, and I really did “fall in love just a little, oh a little bit” with “Someone New.”

Hozier is definitely going to have a brilliant career. His mix of GQ-ready looks, instrumental brilliance and a touch of incendiary politics, proves that this artist is going the distance.

3 comments

  1. Whoo, not a lot of people see his talent. Glad someone does love ya Hozier ???

  2. I saw him the first time he performed at the LC in February, and then again at Bonnaroo this past weekend, and I definitely felt that he performs his best for smaller venues… he seemed anxious while performing on such a large stage at Bonnaroo, but his performance at the LC was enough to make a stranger fall in love with him. I wish I would’ve been able to see him again on Tuesday but I didn’t make it back in time!

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s pronounced “hoze-ee-er”

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