Hozier With George Ezra House of Blues, Dallas Friday, March 20, 2015
We're going to save you from some horrible Hozier-took-us-to-church pun opener and get straight to the point. Hozier is boring. It's not that his music isn't good or his lyrics don't convey a deeper meaning (Just look at "Take Me To Church," a rather clear metaphor between a relationship and religion), it's just that listening to his vinyl record in a room with thousands of strangers would have been just as captivating as seeing him live at House of Blues in Dallas on Friday night.
Andrew Hozier-Byrne, who stands at about 6'5", didn't do much with his tall figure. He stood behind the mike the entire time with his guitar guarding his body. Even during "Take Me to Church," he let his deep voice do all the work, while iPhones went up in the air to record the Grammy-nominated song.
I'll take it a step further and say at one point I became entranced in a fight among a middle-aged man, another guy and his girlfriend during Hozier's set. As the one guy dragged away his girlfriend while she was shouting and kicking, I look up and Hozier is still singing "Sedated."
Without a doubt, the dude's got a great voice. It's deep and powerful and sounds sort of like the old man in a church choir.
"His voice is so awesome," one girl beside me said to her date. "I wish I could hear it better if these people would fucking shut up." Yes, noise was a slight issue Friday night, like it almost always is at the House of Blues. When the bar is so close to the people watching the show, it can be hard to be in the moment during Hozier's "Cherry Wine" when a dude is just trying to order three shots of Fireball.
It's hard to know if Hozier's song lyrics were truly understood at his concert. "Take Me to Church" is not the only song with an overarching theme of religion. There's "From Eden," where he compares himself to the serpent in the Garden of Eden, tempting his lover. There's also "Foreigner's God," a song with clear religious undertones and then there's "To Be Alone," a song with lyrics like "Never feel too good in crowds/With folks around/When they're playing the anthems of rape culture loud." It can only be assumed Hozier is striving to set himself apart from other male musicians who use sex in any demeaning way in their art.
Hozier has made it clear he is about equal rights across the board. Another example of this could be in "Like Real People Do." It could be just about two people with pasts, or maybe more unsurprising, about two gays who "just kiss like real people do."
Toward the end of his set, he sang "It Will Come Back," a relatively slow song in which he compares himself to an animal -- referencing the thing "howling outside your door" first as "it" and then as "me."
It's hard to know how many of his songs stand a chance on pop radio. Only "Take Me to Church" is listed on iTunes' Top 200 chart currently.
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However, it could be just a fluke on my part. There were all types of people there -- young and old but (surprise, surprise) mainly white -- who turned out to see the guy. There were a lot of young girls there (young enough for braces, old enough for lip gloss) there to see presumably Hozier's opening act, George Ezra. Yes, the 21-year-old British blonde cutie was a bit more of a showman than Hozier, but what are you going to do? If you've heard Ezra's "Budapest," you've heard the rest of his set. It's all extremely similar.
If and when Hozier rises to the top and begins to play bigger venues, it will be interesting to see if he is able to live up to the hype. As of Friday night, he's more suited for a show in a coffee shop where red wine or a joint is involved.
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