Hozier- “The only heaven I’ll be sent to, Is when I’m alone with you.”

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 DeathLike 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 ThingHozier 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

VIDEOS:

Like Real People Do:

Angel of Small Death:

To Be Alone:

Work Song:

Take Me to Church:

One Thing (Amerie cover):

From Eden:

PICTURES:


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Kodaline- “I hope that I can say…When all my days are done…We were just having fun”

Kodaline– O2 Shepard’s Bush, London

(Nov 10, 2013)

It was one of the last nights at the Great Escape music festival in Brighton, and I has been encouraged by some others to go see an Irish indie/folk rock band by the name of Kodaline. I remember noticing their name pop up here and there on festival lineups and I figured I’d check out what the “hype” was all about. Plus, Little Green Cars (another Irish band I had been meaning to see) was playing on the same stage right before them, and I couldn’t pass up this double whammy. BOTH BANDS exceeded my expectations (see my page for Little Green Cars), and I remembered leaving that venue with even more respect for Irish musicians and their innate musical talents.

The first Kodaline song that had me stop dead in my tracks was ‘Pray,’ and although I didn’t get it on video, it was one of my favorites to later play over and over, as it had a bit of a Radiohead feel and these haunting, cyclical rhythms that just lock you in a trance. I also loved ‘All Comes Down To You‘ and ‘Love Like This,’ two songs that were new at the time and had not yet been released (see video below). The harmonica and mandolin in ‘Love Like This’ (my personal favorite) get me revved up, and the energy this track generates is mad contagious! Also, Steve’s belt at the end is EPIC.

Next in their set came the song (‘All I Want‘) that MADE THEM FAMOUS, and you could see WHY. Steve introduced this song by saying it was about his ex-girlfriend, and a dude in the audience ROARED “She’s A BEAST!” He assured everyone that she was not, but the audience could not help but laugh hysterically (including me). With lyrics like “Cause if I could see your face once more, I could die a happy man I’m sure” and “When you said your last goodbye, I died a little bit inside…I lay in tears in bed all night, alone without you by my side” you can’t help by feel your heart being ripped FOR STEVE, and you suddenly find yourself vehemently shouting out the chorus, as if you’ve been crushed by someone as well (and maybe you have):

“But if you loved me
Why’d you leave me?
Take my body
Take my body
All I want is,
And all I need is
To find somebody.
I’ll find somebody like you.”

My line that slays me the most in that song is: “So you brought out the best of me, a part of me I’ve never seen,” especially since most guys would never admit that a lady brought out the best in them. I love the build and raw intensity of this song, and the honest/vulnerable lyrics definitely dig the deep. In the category of heartbreak songs, this is one of the best new ones I’ve heard.

By the end of the set, my cheeks were permanently flushed. Kodaline has charm, talent, looks, AND an Irish accent. No wonder why they reel in a huge sea of young girls! This was much more obvious six months later when I saw them at a sold out O2 Shepard’s Bush Empire gig, and found it difficult to hear Steve voice over thousands of screaming girls. A much different atmosphere compared to the small, intimate crowd at the Great Escape, but I guess that’s what happens when bands BLOW UP.

As part of their encore at O2 Shepard’s Bush, Kodaline surprised us all when they  performed a cover of Sam Cooke‘s ‘Bring It On Home to Me,’  from the balcony of the crowd (see video below). Steve introduced this cover as one of their “old time favorite love songs.” It’s pretty impressive that they were able to silence and entire crowd of 2,000+ screaming fans to be heard without microphones. I’m seeing artists do this more and more and I LOVE IT. Keeps us fans on our toes! x

Other favorite songs: The Answer, All My Friends, High Hopes, Way Back When

VIDEOS:

 Bring It On Home (Sam Cooke cover):

PICTURES:

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Kodaline– The Great Escape, Brighton

(May 17, 2013)

VIDEOS:

All Comes Down to You:

Love Like This:

All I Want:

PICTURES:


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