Golden Plec: Hozier at the Pepper Cannister Church, Dublin
08 Dec 2013
8 December, 2013
We’ve a lot of starving faithful.
From almost nowhere Hozier is at the front of our consciousness. With just a four track EP to his name – one of those tracks wasn’t even given a full studio treatment – he has become one of the hottest musical properties in this part of the world. Two nights in the Pepper Canister Church were never going to be enough and the scramble for tickets to the Wicklow-native was inevitable. On Sunday night, it was his second coming.
That looks tasty
From the opening soul numbers of It Will Come Back and Like Real People Do, and the Baptist-gospel of Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene, it’s clear that this man is of many talents. Even though his assembled five piece backing band offer a needed depth to the sparse beauty of his songs, there is no doubt where the focus lies. Andrew Hozier-Byrne has a voice that just commands your attention; relegating every other sound to the background; silencing the rapt crowd.
Only then I am human
Hozier doesn’t cut a suave, confident figure onstage. Instead he seems real. There is a refreshing honesty to his demeanour; something that only endears him further to the audience. “I know this is a church and there’s some confusion as to how much you can enjoy yourself,” he says to his congregation in a manner more repenting than preaching.
Something meaty for the main course
Whether with the support of the band or without Hozier can deliver beautiful, heartrending songs. Cherry Wine, played solo, is beautiful in its sparseness, while the fresh from the branches To Be Alone (“I finished writing it on Thursday,” he tells us) has a big Jeff Buckley stamp on it. Even a cover of Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love works perfectly; though it’s a completely different song with a riff played on cello. Highlight of the show though is Sedated. As yet unreleased, it is sure to follow Take me to Church into the stratosphere as soon as it’s committed to tape.
Take me to church
When the big hitter comes out as the penultimate song in the set, it actually proves a disappointment. Whether you’ve had the EP on repeat or just been bombarded with it on the radio – we mean bombarded in a good way, like being bombarded with hugs or bombarded with pictures of Jennifer Lawrence – you know the beauty of the song. Unfortunately, live the track doesn’t come across as well, with the main man stumbling over some of the lyrics. It never quite hits the level of euphoria you may have hoped for.
That looks plenty
Hozier closes the set with From Eden. A 70 minute show might seem like a stretch for someone with just four recorded songs to his name. It never feels that way though. There is no padding and no filler; each song gift wrapped and delivered with the utmost care and attention. Catch a sermon soon because Hozier is going places. We’re more than happy to sit in reverential silence while it happens.