Emotion was in the air for all of XPNFest yesterday, but particularly during the pairing of night one headliners Hozier and Japanese Breakfast. Both are masters of songcraft that is intensely personal and often quite cathartic. But their music is also able to transcend their own experience and connect with listeners in a big way, thanks to innovative, engaging arrangements and a strong pop sensibility.
With hearts on sleeves from both ends of the BB&T show, last night’s set was also a study in contrasts — Hozier’s rough-hewn gospel / blues homages with Japanese Breakfast’s ethereal electronic pop, and Andrew John Hozier-Byrne’s direct and detailed lyrical confessions with Michelle Zauner’s nuanced, impressionistic songs of loss and connection. Continue reading →