Hozier at Alexandra Palace Park
With several years out of the spotlight to work on his forthcoming album, Unreal Unearth, Irish singer-songwriter Hozier is finally back on tour, to the elation of his fans. The singer-songwriter rewards his patient audience with a stellar live set under the setting sun at Alexandra Palace Park in North London.
Hozier’s lyrics read like poetry and present in a live setting just as tenderly. Introducing De Selby (Part 1) from his upcoming LP, the singer attentively translates the Gaelic parts of the song as if within a conversation between friends. What follows is a stunning rendition of the track with a crowd so silent and enthralled, one would likely hear a pin drop. Its rockier counterpart, De Selby (Part 2), is next, keeping with the overall upbeat tone of the evening.
The quiet moments are therapeutic, sweet and serene, while the more high-energy songs provide a space for effervescent escapism. From the first note to the last, the crowd becomes a makeshift choir, harmonising along. It is only during Take Me to Church, that their voices are raised enough to overtake the artist on stage, quickly changing from an accompanying hum to a collective anthemic cry: ten years since its release, and the song still creates a sense of unity that must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Building a setlist around fan favourites and newer offerings from his upcoming album, the singer delivers a captivating performance against the London skyline. He is accompanied by a plethora of multi-instrumentalists, the inclusion of whom adds layers both sonically and visually. The artist steps masterfully into the role of a frontman, showing off his own talent while also allowing his counterparts to shine. A section of the encore is dedicated to praising each member of the band and crew by name – even down to the merchandise manager – reminding the crowd of Hozier’s undeniably warm and likeable presence. A few technical difficulties (including a guitar falling onto his foot mere seconds into the show) aren’t enough to wipe the smile off his face. The Irishman might be known for his introspective lyricism and gospel-esque voice, but he and his band are here for a good time and they’re determined to make sure those attending are too.
Cherry Wine, the first of a three-song encore, is the only instance when Hozier finds himself alone on stage. Here, the full force of his adoring audience is realised as they croon along. A beautiful duet earlier in the set of Like Real People Do, with support act Victoria Canal, is another standout of the night.
There is a wonderfully contrasting mood in Hozier’s music: slow and soulful ballads against boisterous and raspy folk-rock tunes. The singer-songwriter appears to have mastered a set that flows effortlessly between each without losing impact or intent. The result? A joyous evening with one of Ireland’s most enchanting artists.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Hozier’s website here.
Watch the video for the single De Selby (Part Two) here: