East Ireland native Hozier played for a packed audience at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday night for the second of three sold out shows at the iconic venue this week.
The night’s set opened with English singer-songwriter George Ezra, who performed music from his debut album, Wanted on Voyage. Ezra broke up his set with endearing tales of his travels across Europe, the inspiration for many of his songs, the best known being “Budapest,” which reached the top ten charts in numerous countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the Czech Republic.
Ezra capped off his stage time with a stellar performance of “Did You Hear the Rain?,” a soulful piece with an acapella opening capable of sending chills down your spine. Audience members cheered the young artist on as his deep “beyond his years” voice bellowed through the auditorium.
When Hozier finally claimed the stage, he wasted no time, immediately kicking off with the somber but rhythmic number “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.” He had a humble demeanor but a striking charisma, immediately pulling in the audience with his bluesy, soulful vocals on pieces like “Arsonist’s Lullaby” and “From Eden” from his 2014 self-titled debut.
Hozier’s stage presence was exemplified with strong light design. Songs such as “To Be Alone” featured lights that pulsed with the deep downbeat of the drums, and flashed intensely with the harsh staccato strikes in the beat of the chorus.
The crowd unsurprisingly responded with overt enthusiasm as the opening notes to “Take Me to Church” filled the auditorium. Though arguably overplayed on many radio stations across the country, Hozier breathed new vibrancy into the song. The tempo felt quicker and more intense than was normal and he sang with a unique earnestness that created an experience and feeling anew.
He had a quiet genuineness about him that carried throughout his performance and bolstered the impact of his already emotional, beautifully crafted songs.
Hozier is scheduled to return to Tennessee in May for the 2015 Beale Street Music Festival and in June for the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
Check our our gallery from the performance below:
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