By Mary Ann Odete
On Thursday Nov. 6, Andrew Hozier-Byrne, also known as ‘Hozier,’ wrapped up a six-week U.S. tour at Irving Plaza.
Concert-goers started lining up around 6:00 pm; doors opened at 7:00 pm, James Bay, the opener, came on at 8:30 pm, and Hozier came on at 9:15.It was a long wait, but the audience buzzed with anticipation. When Hozier finally graced the stage, it was as though much held in excitement was released, which resulted in loudness.
Before Hozier, James Bay opened for Hozier, who’s a U.K.-based artist worth noticing. He was the perfect compliment as he sang in a blues style, distinctly different from Hozier’s, but fit with the night’s mood.
Bay came onto the stage like he owned it, as he had a commanding presence without being overbearing. He made jokes with the audience and told them about his New York Knicks adventure: he went to a game, the one where the Knicks won, and he bought a cap, which he showed off proudly. He kept it light-hearted and fun with his cup of “fun juice” — he had a cup labeled ‘fun juice’ — and laid-back attitude.
When he started singing, his voice spoke for itself. Each song he sang grabbed the audience’s attention. It was less like he was an opener and more like it was a joint show between between Bay and Hozier. Bay ended his part of the tour with Hozier that night, but he is definitely one to follow.
When Hozier finally came on stage, the audience was more than ready for him. At least half the audience was singing along during almost each song. For approximately half the set, Hozier had his band with him and for the other half, it was only him. Both ways proved amazing.
There was so much admiration from the audience, it was obvious he was a little overwhelmed, but he took it stride. He told funny anecdotes, such as the story behind the recording of his song “Cherry Wine,” and constantly thanked the audience for being so pumped. On top of his voice, it was hard to keep the eyes from wandering to his hands.
For Hozier’s song “In a Week,” Alana Henderson, back-up vocals and cellist, sang the female vocals, which were originally sang by Karen Cowley) and she was perfect. The set ended with “Take Me to Church,” but the audience wanted more, so they gave a two-song encore. Part of the encore was a song Hozier said they sang “when they are having fun,” which was Amerie’s “One Thing.”
It was so unexpected that there was a moment of awe and then pandemonium, well-deserved pandemonium.
Mary Ann Odete is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org