Hozier w/ Asgeir
It’s only the beginning of 2015, and it’s already been a huge year for Irish songwriter Andrew Hozier-Byrne. Hot off a performance with Annie Lenox at this year’s Grammy Awards (at which he was nominated for Song of the Year), Hozier made his way to Portland for his first official all ages gig in our city.
Tickets for the show only took about a week to sell out, and the sold out crowd showed themselves in full last Friday. The venue was packed, and everyone in the house was beyond psyched to see the man himself cleanse us with his blues.
The night began with Icelandic opener Asgeir. Playing with airy alternative vibes while keeping in line with Hozier’s folky aura, Asgeir played a very mellow opening set. The music was relaxing, with moments of more upbeat tones. Most of the music Asgeir creates falls along the electronic spectrum, in contrast with Hozier’s sole bluesy guitar. Besides these differences, Asgeir proved to be a well-matched act for Hozier, but it was Hozier’s performance the audience was hungry for.
Mr. Hozier-Byrne opened with one of my personal favorites, “Angel of Small Death”. It was a track that jumped out at me during October’s Bing Lounge set, and it was refreshing to hear it in all it’s live glory once again. Hozier brings so much soul and emotion to every song, and every note he delivers.
From there, he never ceased to enthrall us, playing “From Eden” and “Jackie and Wilson”, both songs that had the entirety of the crowd singing along.
There were some definite highlights during Hozier’s set for me. One of which was the duet with band member, Alana Henderson. Henderson and Hozier-Byrne performed Hozier’s track, “In A Week”, which originally featured vocals from Karen Cowley. Alana’s vocal highlight in this portion of the performance was amazing. Henderson played a role as a backup vocalist for the rest of the show, but she very much deserved to be in the spotlight for this track. She has an amazing voice, and Hozier made sure it was made known.
Speaking of spotlights, the lighting for Hozier’s set was some of the best I’ve seen. One particular track that enchanted me was Hozier’s raw and emotional song, “To Be Alone”. Not only is the song a kick you in the face kind of piece, but the lighting that was coupled with it had the same feeling. It was the gunshot quick strobe that got to me, hitting you with the strike of the drum. There was a lot of flashes and strobes used throughout the show, and it just added to the vibe of the music.
Hozier “closed off” the night with his Grammy-nominated hit, “Take Me To Church”, which the audience sang along to at the top of their lungs. The encore afterwards included an acoustic rendition of “Cherry Wine”, which was haunting in itself, and the song the whole crowd kept requesting throughout the whole night, “Work Song”.
Essentially, Hozier knows how to put on a show. He knows how to please a crowd, and he’s in touch with his music and the people who feel touched by it. Hozier’s a true artist, and if you didn’t make it this time around, I urge you to add his name to your bucket list. It’s just something you have to experience for yourself.