Review: Hozier - Melbourne 25/04
Returning to Melbourne, off the back of his return to Byron Bay Bluesfest, Irish singer songwriter ‘Hozier’ brings new and old favourites to play the first of two sold out shows at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre, his first shows in Melbourne since last touring in 2015. Following the release of his 2014 self-titled album he returns in 2019 with his Rhythm and Blues infused album ‘Wasteland, Baby!,’ bringing with him a 7 piece band of multi-instrumentalists, the night was filled with harmonious soulful folk tunes and a full house ready for an evening infused with grooving, sing-alongs and everything in between.
Starting off the set with some of his latest including ‘Would that I’, ‘Dinner & Diatribes and the gospel inspired single featuring Mavis Staples, ‘Nina Cried Power,’ all coming off his latest EP, Hozier was given a warm welcome from the crowd. With such powerful ballads to begin the night the audience was brought to their feet for the remainder of the show. Opening with these soulful new tunes was just enough to set the mood for an old favourite, ‘Someone New.’ Fans were treated with an unfamiliar bluesy rendition of the hit, which created such a beautiful soulful ambience in the room with the entire band bringing the rhythm and groove.
Following on we heard ‘Nobody,’ showcasing some stunning harmonies and an unexpected drum solo, then abandoning the band to perform ‘Wasteland, Baby,’ solo, with just his guitar.
Smashing through hits new and old, it was ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’ was a song that really got the audience involved, singing and clapping along (albeit mostly out of time) with his band. ‘Movement’ was such a, funnily enough a powerful moment, the perfect song to showcase Hozier’s dominant vocals that were combined with both beautiful harmonies and a stunning light show there was an atmosphere like no other taking over the Palais. This was the perfect lead in to ‘Take Me to Church,’ with the room fully lit the crowd erupted, mimicking every lyric and dancing like no one was watching.
After saying their goodbyes, Hozier returned solo for the first song of the encore playing ‘Cherry Wine’ in a dully lit room and with a single spotlight focused on him and his acoustic guitar, creating such a beautiful moment between himself and the crowd. Bringing the other 7 band members back on, there were many thanks to be said before he played his final song of the evening ‘Work Song.’ Which brought everyone to their feet for the last time, a highlight moment to end the set, with the crowd clapping in time and leaving the night with a standing ovation.
The Palais was such a perfect venue to showcase Hozier’s powerful, passion infused gospel ballads leaving the crowd in awe of such a voice and as a whole the atmosphere created on stage with his presence.
Photos by Tianna Eger (@tiannaeger)