HOZIER at The Unitarian Church | Review
Andrew Hozier Byrne’s title track from his début EP spoke a particular truth this evening. ‘Take me to Church’ is the Wicklow natives acclaimed debut, and saw a sell out crowd drift in to The Unitarian Church, one of Dublin’s most unique and alluring musical venues. February of this year saw Hozier as a second support slot to rising Blackpool talent Rae Morris. A mere seven months later his own headline show justifies the importance of hard work and a honed craft. He has built an array of followings through numerous musical projects (Trinity Orchestra, Zaska, Nova Collective) and his trajectory up the musical echelons is building steadfast. On a night where the first sting of coldness begins to build, from start to finish The Unitarian permeates warmth of musicianship and talent above quantum.
Undoubtedly it has been a while since some of the crowd have sought solace in a church other than for musical exploits. While struggling to fathom six beatitudes that etched the glass behind the alter/stage, an altogether more appealing mystery emerged. Stevie Appleby, lead singer of Little Green Cars, delivered a subtly candid and honest five song acoustic set with laments of love and qualms of safety and belonging. Adept player, he showcased in an altogether more organic nature why he has accumulated much success. Sat above were the other members of Little Green cars, a band who have amassed International accolade and boast Lollapalooza and Electric Picnic sets in their repertoire. Witnessing Stevie’s wondrous showcase and also seeing one of Ireland’s most prized successes, gather in support of another up and coming talent were equally refreshing.
Hozier began plucking riffs on one of his numerous guitars shortly after nine. Cherry Wine, much like the name, oozed flavour and flair. A silent audience propped their heads to see firsthand the sole live track off the EP. From the start, you could surmise the night ahead. The addition of cello and drums in It Will Come Back bounced soulful bluesy funk through the arches and hit the high roof with fleeting speed. The amalgamation of different instruments ignited each song with character and vigor and was an underlay to peerless vocals of tenor and sentiment on Like Real People Do.
With no less than six other members joining Hozier on stage for the majority of the show, he looked the proper front man with a commanding and striking presence. Sedated shook the Unitarian with a thundering drum opener, a boisterous and heavy number juxtapose a quaint and usually peaceful setting. Someone New a song Hozier has previously stated is about ‘the vacuous nature of love’ is terribly anthemic. More so enjoyable with violins and peerless female harmonies, it loosened people up and incited people to bop their heads as much as one can while acutely conscious of your surrounds.
The final and most fitting song of the night Take Me To Church triggered claps from the audience before the piano intro had commenced. Never has a resounding ‘Amen’ spoke such volume, a unification of preaching and belief between congregation and pastor. The sentiments of a dimly lit room veiled in silence were a crowd receptive and appreciative. It seemed a little unreasonable that the lights came on mid way through the final number. Then you realise some poor soul had dropped their shoulder a bit too enthusiastically and switched the lights on in error. A stern glare from the sound technician restored order and left people to ‘go in peace’. Besides, this lad should get used to lights being on him. He is emblematic of talent in its purist form.
HOZIER Photo Gallery
Photos: Shaun Neary