The crowd was deafening as Hozier finished up the last notes of “Take Me To Church.” People rushed to the orchestra pit, trying to get as close to the stage as possible as the band walked off stage.
But before all of that, Hozier played a rousing set at The Altria Theatre in Richmond. He had made it clear early on that he wanted a fun night, and encouraged people to dance and also promised to not to tattle on anyone if any illegal acts took place at the venue.
He blew through the setlist, enjoying himself as he featured songs new and old. Hozier kicked the night off with “Would That I” and then went right into “Dinner and Diatribes.”
His politically-charged single “Nina Cried Power” came next. The song was the first track he released from his EP that preceded his full length, sophomore album.
“Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” as well as “Someone New” also made it on the list. Crowd favorite "Jackie and Wilson" was also played, and even though Hozier's debut clocks in at almost five years old, these songs still remain popular among fans today.
Hozier also dipped into his emotionally-charged ballads. Title track “Wasteland, Baby!” came on about halfway through the set. He told the audience before the song that he wrote it about falling in love while the world was ending, and referenced the Doomsday Clock (which is currently set to two minutes to midnight).
“Cherry Wine” made it on the encore set, and Hozier closed the night with fan-favorite “Work Song.” Both songs are slow, soulful ballads, describing love in different forms.
The way Hozier performs feels so effortless. His voice is commanding, it drew the audience’s attention all night long, and he owned the stage as he stood tall and lean. But everything about it felt casual. There was no grand show he was trying to put on, he wasn’t trying to win anyone over with a complicated light show or by being overly charming. He just played his music, and sometimes that’s a good thing.
Hozier’s music has always been lyrically and musically complex but has come across in a simplistic manner, and that is easily reflected in his live performance. It’s refreshing to have an artist look and feel so in tune with their own sound, it bodes well for the music Hozier will release for years to come.
Article by Lindsey Lanham
Photos by Garnette Ransone