Hozier delighted Caesars Windsor Coliseum with a night of incredible musicality on Tuesday August 6th. Starting off the evening was local duo, The Oh Chays.
When the husband and wife pair took to the stage, singer and keyboardist Kay said, “We are Hozier”. The audience laughed as she continued, “I’m just joking. We are so lucky to be here. This is so much better than playing in a bar.”
Right from the start, the audience applauded and cheered for each note. The Oh Chays were clearly grateful for the stage and opportunity to shine. After wrapping up their first song Kay told the crowd, “I think I’m about to cry. This is so amazing”. She explained that they had just received the email from Hozier’s team yesterday asking them to open the show. “Dreams do come true!”
A highlight of the set was when the band presented an original track entitled, “Never Too Old”. “Even though we look amazing, we’re like 1,000 years old. This is about not giving up on your dreams.” The Oh Chays encouraged the crowd to wave along, side to side. Kay asked, “Did my mom put you up to this? This is crazy!” Their set was packed with great lyrics, keys, some guitar, rounded out percussion, and even “a sexy song about a donut”.
Before wrapping up, Kay asked, “Can you guys come with us on the road?”
The band concluded their night with an exceptional cover of Michael Jackson’s empowering 1987 track, “Man In The Mirror”. The pair was a perfect start to the night.
Just after 9 PM, Hozier and his band appeared through smoke-filled dim light from stage left. The excited crowd absolutely roared to greet them. A steady beat started off the wondrous track, “Would That I”. The audience sang back the chorus’ “Oh”s appropriately.
To the delight of the crowd, Hozier immediately jammed into “Dinner & Diatribes”.
Keeping the theme of playing tracks from his latest incredible album, “Wasteland, Baby”, the band presented the remarkable, “Nina Cried Power”. The album track includes counterpart Mavis Staples (who recently celebrated her 80th birthday!), but Hozier sang each chorus and verse through himself. He also shouted out different musicians who have rallied for change.
After the song concluded, Hozier greeted the crowd. “How are you doing Windsor?” He remarked that this was the band’s first time playing in this part of the world. “Thank you so so much for coming out to the show and checking it out. It is an absolute pleasure”. A steady guitar rhythm began and Hozier continued, “If you wouldn’t mind lending your voices for one second, I just wanna see what voices you’re hiding. I’d ask you not to hide them from me because I will seek them out and I will find them.” The notes began of “To Be Alone”, and the crowd echoed back the song’s chant.
Early in the set, Hozier stopped to tie his shoe and chimed, “Safety first” as the crowd cheered for the deed.
Hozier’s thoughtful lyrics filled the packed Colosseum, as he kept an endearing dialogue open with the audience the whole night through.
After his first album’s terrific track, “Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene”, Hozier presented more songs from his latest record.
Hozier kept a balance of subtlety and full musicality going with “Nobody”. He started the cleverly-rhymed song with a more acoustic feel, then brought in the full band sound.
After “Talk”, Hozier addressed the crowd with, “Since you’ve already shown me those voices, I know they’re there and if you know this one, don’t be afraid to let us hear you. You can’t hide them.” With beautiful instrumentation while backlit by spotlights, the band began “From Eden”. The gorgeous violin sound perfectly presented a lower tempo version of the jam.
After the song completed, Hozier told the crowd, “You sound beautiful!” He continued his conversation with the crowd by saying, “You’ll notice up here much of the band has deserted me, leaving so much room for activities, etc.” He shouted out Cormac Curran and Thandii, the two musicians remaining on stage to assist in instrumentation. “This next song was written mid to late 2016. I was writing a few love songs for the end of the world. This next one kind of falls into that category, and I suppose it tries to imagine the last human act on earth, sooner or later, hopefully will be some sort of act of kindness. It’s called ‘Wasteland, Baby!'” He started into his latest album’s title track.
When the song concluded, he thanked the audience, and encouraged them to welcome the missing band members back to stage. He gripped his guitar and said, “I just want to hold this for one second, just say hi to it.” A spirited gentleman in the audience yelled, “You can hold me for one second!” Hozier laughed and responded, “The feeling is mutual. I promise you that. Thank you very much.”
He proceeded, “This is a song named after a very vicious little bird of prey which is known to live near very very sharp objects… it’s kind of a Vlad the Impaler of the natural world. It tends to hang its prey over these things. It’s a horrible, gruesome thing to behold. I thought it was a fun theme for a love song. It’s a song called ‘Shrike'”. This was the precise moment I had the wondrous thought that with each Hozier show I’ve attended, I’ve learned something new and personal about each song. Accompanying violin beautifully rounded out the gorgeous song.
After “Shrike” concluded, Hozier encouraged, “Once again, Miss Emily Kohavi on violin!”
After “No Plan”, Hozier continued into “Jackie and Wilson”, which was greeted with a cheer. Hozier lifted up his hand during each chorus to correspond with the lyric, “raise ’em on rhythm and blues”.
During “Almost (Sweet Music)”, the band included solos for bass, violin, and organ, allowing each musician their own moment to shine.
When the song finished, Hozier shouted out each musician that had contributed. “This band is outrageous!”
Next, they jived into “Moment’s Silence”, an amazing track from the “Nina Cried Power” EP. The band jammed out thoroughly during each chorus under dancing lights, while the crowd happily clapped along to the rhythm of the verses.
The band then presented the powerful, “Movement” under a beautiful display of lights. Hozier passionately sang most of the song with just a microphone, but picked up a tambourine to belt out the final chorus.
The crowd positively roared when Hozier began the smash, “Take Me To Church”. The audience immediately started singing along, and Hozier held out his microphone to hear. Toward the end of the song he welcomed, “Let me hear you, Windsor!” Fans sang along, “Amen, amen, amen.” Hozier stepped down into the pit and reached out into the crowd. With a bow and a wave, the band exited the stage.
The crowd instantly began clapping, cheering, and stomping, with many holding up lighters. Finally, after a brief time away, Hozier reappeared with a smile and an acoustic guitar to greet excited fans once more.
“It has been an absolute joy tonight…. Thank you for making our first time in Windsor very very special. Again, don’t be afraid to help me out with this one.” Under appropriately red lights, Hozier solitary began the emotional, “Cherry Wine”. The audience sang along to the chorus and Hozier complimented, “You sound gorgeous.”
Upon the song’s completion, Hozier encouraged the crowd to welcome the band back on stage. He introduced each musician, and shouted out everyone who helped make the show possible from the light rigger to the instrument technicians. “As the song goes, it takes more than a hammer and nails to make a house a home.” He also thanked the Oh Chays for opening the show, and began into the beautiful “Work Song”. Fans clapped along to the slow and steady beat. The band closed out with breathtaking notes of harmony. While the audience cheered and clapped their way to a standing ovation, the band waved and bowed in a line of unison. Hozier left the crowd with, “Thank you so much Windsor, we’ll see you again.”
Hozier’s incredible tour continue through November, while making several more stops in the United States and Canada.
Words and photos by : Tiffany Cuthrell
Exceptionally talented singer songwriter Hozier made a marvelous stop at Grand Rapids’ 20 Monroe Live on Wednesday May 29th. The lovely venue was positively packed with excited fans, waiting to catch a glimpse and ear of Hozier’s latest album come to life.
Hozier, whose full name is Andrew Hozier-Byrne, is touring in support of his latest LP, “Wasteland, Baby!” The terrific album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, leaving no doubt the musical world was eager for a follow up to his 2014 music.
Starting off the show was family band from New York, Bailen. The three members shared incredible harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and unrivaled passion throughout their set. Their musical knowledge and depth shone bright throughout their performance, with close attention to every detail. Bailen kept an open dialogue with the crowd, presenting their music in a relatable way. The packed venue was with the band from the first note, cheering for both their music and stories.
At one point, vocalist Julia Bailen stated, “We are Bailen, as you can tell from our super expensive sign that we made”. The crowd chuckled along to the pointed out spelling of the band’s name in fluorescent tape. Bailen conveyed exceptional tracks from their debut album, “Thrilled To Be Here”, which came out earlier this year.
They even humorously touched on their first time shopping at Meijer (if you’re not aware, it’s our local Midwest one-stop grocery giant).
With vocals from every member, Bailen closed out with a couple of tremendous songs like “Not Gonna Take Me”, a powerful track about mental health with a groovy Graceland-vibed bassline. Last, the band welcomed their final song and thanked the audience for listening. Bailen asked, “Would it be cool if we have another soft song?” The crowd responded with a resounding cheer. Every member rounded out the vocals of acoustic track, “25 For The Last Time”.
The audience reciprocated gratitude with thrilled applause at the end of their set. Bailen thanked the crowd once more, and bowed before exiting the stage.
Right after 9 PM, Hozier stepped to the stage with the heavy drum introduction of “Would That I”. The audience was amped and excited, right from the start. Hozier delivered exceptionally passionate vocals and a full force energy throughout the entirety of the beautiful song, with the crowd singing the chorus’ carrying “woahs”. His incredible talent was on full display from the beginning of the set, along with that of his band.
Next the band rocked into “Dinner & Diatribes”, with the audience clapping along to the beat. The crowd swelled and cheered for Hozier’s pristine tone and vocal additions.
Sans his guitar, Hozier moved right into the phenomenal track, “Nina Cried Power”. He added improvised lyrics and shout outs to fellow musicians who have cried for change. Before the final chorus, he picked up his guitar and jammed with fellow musician, the stylish Suzanne Santo.
Hozier greeted the crowd for the first time with, “How are you doing this evening Grand Rapids? It is very good to see you”. He encouraged everyone to make some noise for Bailen, who opened up the show. He continued, “Usually this part of the set if there was seating in front of us, I’d encourage people to get the fuck out of their seats”. He informed everyone that “rapid” back home means “fucking great”. “We knew we’d have a good crowd, that was a good omen. In Dublin language, Grand Rapids is like the best thing”. He started into “Someone New”, beginning a trend of fluctuating between music past and present. His band completed the music’s sound fully and flawlessly.
Hozier went into “Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene”, which included a Suzanne Santo violin solo, whilst Hozier shredded on guitar.
“Nobody” began with acoustic instrumentation. Drums kicked in and completed the song’s full sound. For the personified lyric, “I once warmed my hands over a burning Maserati”, Hozier put out his hands, as if warming them over a fire.
During the set, Hozier swapped between several guitars, giving each song a different sound and feel. With each carried note of poetic prose, the audience cheered along, recognizing every detail of the poignant lyrics. Hozier regularly added extra musicality with both tangible and vocal instruments.
Later, Hozier encouraged the crowd to not be afraid to sing along. The band presented a slowed tempo version of the smash, “From Eden”. The crowd sang as cell phone flashlights waved along.
Hozier touched on his experience in writing the new record with the state of the world. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with the doomsday clock. They moved it forward two minutes to midnight, so I was enjoying that feeling”. The crowd laughed along to the welcome sarcasm, in light of a dim time. “…and Writing a few love songs for the end of the world. This next song falls into that category. It’s called ‘Wasteland, Baby!’” He presented the latest album’s beautiful acoustic title track.
After the stunning song, “Shrike”, Hozier continued his conversation with the crowd. “I know we’re joking about how the world ends and stuff like this. This next song is something far far worse to look forward to. It’s based on the work of a scientist called Katie Mack who has a book coming out describing how all the stars will one day grow dark… So it’s just something nicer. Don’t sweat the small things. It’s called ‘No Plan’”.
At the start of “To Be Alone”, the stage was bathed in red light as Alex Ryan added the song’s heavy synth sound. Hozier encouraged the crowd by saying, “Prove you have amazing pipes and can sing like no one else”. He started into the song’s vocal chant, as the crowd echoed back every note.
Hozier welcomed his new single with a brief story. “It’s kind of about the feeling of hearing a sweet piece of music that you know and love, and bringing it you back to someplace that you really don’t want to go back to…you’re trying to get away from. It’s appropriately named ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’”.
During the stunning track, “Movement”, an array of small lights angled into the crowd. Hozier picked up a tambourine for the final chorus, with his fellow musicians filling out the vocals.
To close out, Hozier started into his monster hit, “Take Me To Church”. He sang without a guitar, passionately covering the stage. During the ending chorus, he stepped down into the pit, reaching into the crowd. He help out his mic to amplify the packed venue singing along. When the song concluded, Hozier applauded his band and help up signs of gratitude. With a wave, they exited the stage.
Phone flashlights illuminated endless applause that reached a crescendo when Hozier returned to the stage.
Hozier addressed the audience… “Again, if you know this next one, don’t be afraid to let me hear you”. With just an acoustic guitar, he began the gorgeous track, “Cherry Wine”. During the closing chorus, Hozier let the audience sing and encouraged, “You sound beautiful!”
When the song completed he welcomed endearingly, “Please welcome the band back on the stage. I’m going to introduce these wonderful people”. Hozier proceeded to not only introduce each of his band members, but everyone behind the scenes making the show possible. He also motivated the audience, “If you could make one hell of a noise for Bailen who opened up the show.”
Hozier then thanked the audience for “making this a very very special evening. You have been just a spectacular audience to play to, I mean that sincerely. Thank you so much….. This is a song called ‘Work Song’”. The crowd welcomed the beautiful track with a cheer.
The stage illuminated from behind, adding the perfect vibe for the emotional song. To conclude, the band ended “Work Song” with a tremendously stunning harmony. The members bowed and thanked the audience again, concluding an absolutely astounding evening.
Wasteland, Baby! is a tour that finds that finds Irish gentleman Hozier growing not only in his amazing musical abilities, but also his presence as a performer.
Thus far, the tour has been a resounding success with many sold out shows. Hozier will continue with concerts throughout the US, Canada, and across Europe into November.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell
Incredible Irish songsmith Hozier has returned with a new album that is music to our ears.
Hozier is a gentleman who pulls from his roots… who appreciates the sounds that came before him, and that studious nature shows. Without question, “Wasteland, Baby!” is a nod to not only the greats, but his own evolution as an artist. “Wasteland, Baby!” is not an album that fears change, but instead embraces it. The instant gem is one that found Hozier exploring more layered and textured sounds. The album also pleasantly surprised me with Hozier’s repeated use of the F word (bold and powerful, dear sir!). The lyrics touch on both dark and light subject matter, a perfect refrain for life itself.
Hozier’s church was dismissed after the exhaustive touring that followed his 2014 debut album and (thank god) we are all in session, raising our musical hands again.
Up tempo tracks like “Almost (Sweet Music)” and “Nobody” get our feet tapping, and slower, sensual jams like “Movement” and hit right in the feels. No matter what the song, Hozier’s undeniable talent shines through. His vocals soar the entire album, be it in a direct lyric, or a beautiful chorus of layered vocals.
In true Hozier fashion, “Wasteland, Baby!” is packed with exceptional lyrics, and musicality that can stand up to the best of the best.
Hozier poetically articulates love on the deepest level, better than most of us could, and our world is better for having his voice.
“There’s no plan, there’s no race to be run
The harder the pain honey, the sweeter the song
There’s no plan, there’s no kingdom to come
But I’ll be your man if you’ve got love to get done”
The masterful musician’s knowledge and respect for rock and blues shines throughout the album as well, especially with his shout out track, “Nina Cried Power”. The album’s lead single also features the tremendous Mavis Staples. Together they belt out an anthem for the ages, perfect for these tumultuous times we find ourselves in.
Hozier’s homeland is well-represented through “Shrike”‘s beautiful harmony.
“Remember me love when I’m reborn
as the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn”
The album is perfect for a long walk, an evening at home, a night with your love, or a long drive… In other words, pretty much anything. Like his first album, the cover art is masterfully painted by Hozier’s talented mother, Raine Hozier-Byrne.
Whether the album arrived at fan’s doorsteps via post, our inboxes to download, or through a trip to our local record store, “Wasteland, Baby!” has absolutely been worth the five year wait.
Hozier will be touring the US throughout the summer. Whilst singing, stomping and strumming, he will make a stop at the Fillmore in Detroit on May 28th.
1. Nina Cried Power
2. Almost (Sweet Music)
4. No Plan
6. To Noise Making (Sing)
7. As It Was
11. Dinner & Diatribes
12. Would That I
14. Wasteland, Baby!
Album review by: Tiffany Cuthrell