Did you know that Andrew Hozier-Byrne – Ireland’s Hozier – is 6.5 inches tall? I didn’t, despite having witnessed him in concert since he started touring the states in 2014 with his fluid, stately baritone voice and his spiritual / sensual lyrical éclat fully intact for a newbie. Hozier’s towering stature was an essential element of his sold out live showcase at The Fillmore on Wednesday night for a first local tour stop after disappearing for three years to woodshed and write songs. As he stood at the lip of the stage, his wild Adam Driver hair and lanky elongated frame seemed to extend its self over the crowd like Ichabod Crane’s spirit attached to a cherry picker crane.
Orson Welles once called such epic status/stature that wound its way into everything an artist did ‘the king’s role,’ a nod to an innate grandeur and the possession of a grand, lordly voice and demeanor. That was Hozier, alright – from the baronial soul of his newest tracks such as the stammering rhythmic, obstacle-filled “Nina Cried Power,” to his descending chord, piano-pounded smash, “Take Me to Church,” and its oxygenated, hosanna-high ambiance.
First album moments such as “Jackie And Wilson,” and “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” benefitted the greatest from Hozier’s mighty stance, as they puffed up his stirring Van Morrison-ish elasticity as a vocalist to its maximum height and effect. “To be Alone” was equally theatrical, yet intimate – a signature trick that Hozier’s clung to as part of his kit bag.
New songs such as the thudding, but quiet “Movement,” with its sinister but sexy piano line, undulating groove, and the lyrical obsessiveness of “When you move I move” had a similar height, yet allowed Hozier & Co to stretch out, and widen its scope and sensual elan.
No moment though allowed Hozier and his ensemble the chance to stretch such as “Someone New.” Funky and full blooded in a New Orleans parade fashion, with Hozier playing up his vocal cues to full lover man effect without getting corny, everyone wound up cribbing its middle section’s licks from the Meters. If you didn’t think that Hozier was Van Morrison’s spiritual soul child before this, you did with this packed-to-the-gills live showcase.
Like Real People Do
Nina Cried Power
Jackie and Wilson
Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
To Be Alone
Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue)
Take Me to Church
Say My Name (Destiny’s Child cover)
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