Jugglers and aerialists are not your average opening acts, but some concerts are anything but average. When Hozier, née Andrew Hozier-Byrne, took the stage at The Slipper Room, it marked not only his first gig in America but his first visit to the country. If Hozier and his band had nerves about the occasion, they weren’t apparent. Instead, the group delivered a brilliant set of about 45-minutes long to a sold out crowd, an impressive feat when the Irish act has only released one EP on this side of the Atlantic.
Hozier’s track “Take Me to Church,” a darkly sexy subversion of religious devotion, has received considerable buzz since going viral last year, but he Irish singer/songwriter wisely saved the song for later in the night. Instead he opened with “Like Real People Do,” a sweet prelude to a kiss. This song, as well as the one that followed, appear on his Take Me to Church EP, and by the time he shifted to new material, the crowd was utterly charmed by his smooth voice, grounded lyrics, and guitar style that combined the best elements of folk and soul.
Between songs, Hozier was endearingly humble and gracious, quick to offer his thanks and to mention more than once that he hoped people would like his new songs. His banter was humorous and self-effacing, which offset the moody beauty in some of the songs like “In a Week,” a love ballad of sorts concerning two corpses. “It Will Come Back” and “To Be Alone” offer up a slice of soul that the Irish seem to do better than Americans these days, while “From Eden” is a powerful enough track that it’s no wonder Hozier’s forthcoming EP draws its title from the tune.
When I walked into The Slipper Room, I wasn’t expecting to write a review. Hell, I didn’t even bring a pen or a camera. However, there are some artists who feel so special, so electric that you can’t help but tell everyone what you’ve experienced. America, welcome Hozier. I have the feeling we are going to get well acquainted.