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Headlining The Bowery Ballroom for the First Time, Hozier Thrills

May 14th, 2014

Hozier – The Bowery Ballroom – May 13, 2014

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It didn’t take long for the sold-out Bowery Ballroom crowd to start humming elatedly last night. The promise of Irish troubadour Andrew Hozier-Byrne performing live was enough to make an otherwise mundane Tuesday feel divine. Matty Fasano started off the night with a subdued solo set. Standing alone with just his guitar, his songs showcased his lilting voice and his knack for haunting lyricism. By the time Fasano finished, the audience was more than eager to see Hozier take the stage.

Hozier came into the spotlight only last year, but a large fan base instantly took hold of his passionate music. The County Wicklow, Ireland, native is just 24 but his voice sounds much older. The richness in the low notes and the power in his falsetto deliver every contemplative lyric with graceful fervency. The band, a supremely skilled group of musicians, provided choir-like vocals and valiant percussion to support their leading man, who frequently switched between guitars with ease. Fresh off a Letterman taping, they launched into a dazzling set.

“Like Real People Do,” a lullaby of a ballad, sent the audience into hushed awe. A couple of new songs fell into the mix along with crowd favorites like “Take Me to Church,” “Cherry Wine” and “From Eden.” Hozier even slipped in a couple of covers—rousing renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” and Amerie’s “1 Thing” rang out, each sparking audience sing-alongs. The singer ingratiated himself throughout, offering endearing anecdotes of his hometown and his time on tour before profuse thank-yous marked the end of the show. Hozier has yet to release a full-length album, but he’s bound to keep selling out venues. And anyone who catches him and his band live won’t be disappointed by the expansive reverie they deliver. —Schuyler Rooth