Hozier– Bushstock, London
(June 14, 2014)
I first heard about Hozier from a friend back in the states who saw him in Los Angeles (sold out gig) and fell in love…with the music of course! Andrew ‘Hozier’-Byrne is from Wicklow, Ireland, and had been exposed to Celtic, soul, jazz, and blues music growing up; he then studied music at Trinity College in Dublin, teachingt himself to play guitar and piano. Partway through college, he dropped out to focus on his nourishing his craft full time. He realized that the best environment for writing music was at “home,” where he could properly reflect on the world and reflect THOSE REFLECTIONS back onto the world through song.
When asked about this topic, he says: “Listen to any song, from any era; and you’re looking through a keyhole into the artist’s world as seen through their eyes. Art is, in it’s simplest form, the reproduction of the world around us. All artists reproduce their vision of the world, and in doing so create a document that reflects the times they live in”.
The first songs that Hozier ever released were through his first EP, ‘Take Me To Church.’ This included Take Me to Church (the lead track), Angel Of Small Death, Like Real People Do, and Cherry Wine. He apparently recorded all of these songs LIVE, meaning outside on a rooftop amidst nature (yes, that bird chirping in Cherry Wine is REAL), and played all of the instruments.
That ‘Take Me To Church’ EP alone had me itching to see him live, but then the release of his ‘Eden‘ EP…and from that point, I was head over heels. As a singer/songwriter, Hozier’s impressive vocal range and his adroit guitar skills enable him to embody elements of folk, blues, and gospel. Now, with a backing band (bassist, drummer, keyboardist, cellist), he is able to blur the lines between those music genres even more. Within only a few months from releasing his debut EPs, Hozier was announced to headline Communion’s Bushstock festival on June 14. With him and Alexi Murdoch as the main acts, I IMMEDIATELY got tickets.
Having planted myself on the ground in front of the stage for Alexi Murdoch, I had prime real estate for Hozier‘s set (immediately following Alexi). Hozier and his band kicked off the set with Like Real People Do, a song that makes me melt like butter:
“I will not ask you where you came from
I will not ask you and neither should you
Honey just put your sweet lips on my lips
We should just kiss like real people do..” (DYING)
The sound wasn’t the greatest for the first few songs (where was the sound engineer?!), but it was still AMAZING…(see video below)
Next up in the set was Angel of Small Death, another Hozier gem (video below) that has such a fun chorus to sing along to.
Hozier‘s band then left the stage for the next one, To Be Alone, and DAAAAAMN it felt good TO BE ALONE with the Irishman with PIPES THAT PULSE: “It feels good, girl, GIRL it feels good…To be alone with you…”
His howling at 2 min in sent instant shivers down the spine. DAMN. What a VOICE. (the sexy guitar ditty was pretty hot too…)
The band came back and joined Hozier for what he introduced as Work Song, explaining that it was very much a “work in progress for a long time,” and “we couldn’t think of a better name.” Well, it was surely worth the wait. What a beaut.
“When, my, time comes around
Lay me gently in the cold dark earth
No grave can hold my body down
I’ll crawl home to her..”
BUT, the song that had us PRAYING FOR MORE was the popular crowd pleaser, Take Me to Church: “The only heaven I’ll be sent to, Is when I’m alone with you.” SLAYED. Following up on this was a cover of Amerie’s One Thing. Hozier introduced this as something “fun” that they tried out for a radio show. Would have never expected him to cover a pop song like that! So funny!
Then, it was time for the magic to end. Hozier‘s CHILLY ENCORE of From Eden left us all weak at the knees leaving St. Stephen’s Church. I was the googly-eyed chick in front with my jaw dropped (and probably drool…) I know for sure I wasn’t the only one!
“Babe, there’s something tragic about you
Something so magic about you
Don’t you agree?
Babe, there’s something lonesome about you
Something so wholesome about you
Get closer to me.” (YES)
For this gig, I definitely got as close as I could (aside from being ON STAGE), and I don’t think it will be easy to get this close again. His fan base is just going to keep EXPLODING more and more, ESPECIALLY when he releases his first debut album. x
Like Real People Do:
Angel of Small Death:
To Be Alone:
Take Me to Church:
One Thing (Amerie cover):