Katelyn Gaughan reviews the ethereal experience that is a Hozier concert, live in Dublin’s 3Arena.
Before attending Hozier’s 'Unreal Unearth tour', I had never been quiet at a concert before. In this case, a combination of impressive visual effects and mesmerising vocals soon left myself and most of the audience awestruck.
They say you should start as you mean to go on and Hozier certainly did that by opening with a beautiful, if somewhat haunting, performance of “De Selby (Part 1)”. After the first three songs, he asked the audience how they were feeling, to which they responded with a joyful cheer. He promised to change that by the end of the show. Despite the inclusion of upbeat songs such as “Jackie and Wilson” and “Almost (Sweet Music)”, the overarching themes of most songs were quite solemn.
After the first three songs, he asked the audience how they were feeling, to which they responded with a joyful cheer. He promised to change that by the end of the show.
The lights and projections were expertly used to set the mood for each song and branches hung from the ceiling above the band. The transition of lighting in “To Be Alone” was particularly impactful, as a purple hue pulsated in the blue lighting before the peak of the song, at which point the LED lights on the stage shone bright red. Other songs made use of simple lighting, such as “Movement” which used unornamented blue lights and allowed attention to be drawn to Hozier’s impressive vocalisation.
I personally favoured the visuals for “Cherry Wine”. Hozier stood alone on the stage and the background transformed into a night-time landscape as the stage darkened and twinkling lights appeared, accompanied by a red-hued moon from which there shone a soft spotlight. He introduced the song as one which had been written at what he referred to as an ‘unreasonable time of the morning’, before beginning what can unarguably be described as a beautiful display of emotion.
He gave touching introductions to “Abstract (Psychopomp)” and “First Time”, leaving raw emotion on the stage with each of them. It was during his performance of “Take Me to Church” that I first saw any significant number of seated audience members stand up and animated cheering followed Hozier as he left the stage. I pity the surprising amount of audience members who left at this point, because they missed a fantastic encore. Hozier returned to speak to the audience briefly before singing three more songs, concluding with a moving rendition of “Work Song”.
Hozier’s talent was undeniable as he maintained strong resonance in his vocals and alternated effortlessly between acoustic and electric guitar. I can’t say I’m surprised that fans are anxiously awaiting his concert in Marlay Park this summer.