Live Review: Hozier – Liverpool


12th January 2016, The Empire, Liverpool

Words: Elena Katrina

hozier 12.1.15 elena“If you ever think David Bowie was before your time just listen to anything you can. He defined what it is to be rock n roll. He defined what it was to be an icon. Many times over”

It’s not usual to start a review with the end of the show but this above all else had such an impact on me tonight that I had to.  Having played a spectacular sold out show in the beautiful Empire in Liverpool, it’s probably those words and the lump in my throat that will stay with me forever.

Hozier stood humbly as he explained before the last song of the encore that he had wanted to do a tribute. I assume that he meant to learn a song, though time wasn’t really on his side to do that but in a way his words spoke louder as his own than a man with a guitar doing a cover ever could. He encouraged his younger fans to engage with the music of David Bowie and this is how his legend will live on. After then playing  the last song he gracefully left the stage at which point Heroes came on and I was totally caught up in emotion then.

But to the show. Hozier always cuts a very defined figure on the stage. For all I know he has worn the same outfit every time I’ve seen him. All I know is if he did something wrong and was in a line up I’d know it was him just from his silhouette. There’s a way he stands and this adds to his performance. It’s confident yet with an air of bashfulness. He certainly doesn’t hold back at any point – unless you yell something out and catch him off guard – that was a funny moment even though I’ve no idea what was yelled. His vocals forever hitting the spot and those high notes are superb. Such a range.

Highlights of the show would most certainly include the album version of From Eden – all the Spanish influence and staccato movement within the track delighted me with every note. I need to also give a nod to the lighting designer for this show. I know that’s perhaps an unusual thing to do but it was so much a part of the show that I want it recognised.

I found it hard work, at first, to watch Hozier while sitting down. It was an entirely new way to watch him. It felt a little grown up and a little serious. I mean I am a grown up and his music is relatively serious, as opposed to throw away pop, but still, the atmosphere that I’ve felt at past shows took much longer to build. It did get there though.

hozier 12.1.15 elena” I know you all have numbered seats but think of these as a suggestion rather than an obligation” – O… K. I’m not entirely sure what Hozier meant by this but I’m going to assume he meant we could get up and dance but no one did, yet everyone cheered. As they had been doing, as if we were at a Justin Bieber show, or so I imagine! And I’m fairly sure they were an obligation and I didn’t want to test the theory by marching down to the front row and demanding someone moved for me to have their seat.

We then had some group therapy, Hozier style. And it was wonderful and I did so feel alive – singing at the top of my lungs, along with everyone else (apart from the very serious looking man next to me who I think was also reviewing – live a little 😉 ). Of course, he picked the most difficult and high pitched thing to sing ( the wooo hooos from To Be Alone) but good old Liverpool loves a challenge and apparently the Empire was bristling with singers, from where I was it sounded great and gave me goosebumps. The backing vocal arrangement to this song was different than I have previously heard it. It was choral like and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on edge and even more goosebumps.

The mass stand up during Someone New was thrilling. It was impulsive, like reverse dominoes or a Mexican wave that never saw anyone sit down again. Hozier loved it too, finding time, even when singing, to flash a huge smile and a nod to the first group up. It was a shame then that it was at this point in his set where he followed up with a cover of a song that no one seemed to know or seemed overly interested in (I didn’t recognise it either and it was a cover of Blackbird by The Beatles! – clearly not a song I’ve ever paid attention to!). And everyone sat back down a little deflated. We had to wait until the final song for the congregation to come alive again. Take Me To Church, of course, was the song that did it. Yet another goosebump moment for me. I find it hard sometimes knowing that there’s one track in a set that will cause this reaction when I know there are other songs that are equally deserving. It didn’t really matter though as I revealed in the entire set, even when I was sat down.

The only real disappointment? Knowing he’s not planning another UK tour this year.



One Response to “Live Review: Hozier – Liverpool”
  1. Jayne Watson says:

    The cover was the Beatles Blackbird


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