Hozier Captures Everyone’s Attention and Heart at the Fillmore

Photo by Ryan Smith

Many artists, musicians and bands believe they need to open their set with the most popular or loudest song, but Andrew Hozier-Byrne, better known simply as his mononym, Hozier, showed there is something to be said about  keeping it quiet. Hozier’s soft, quiet vocals flooded the room of the Philadelphia Fillmore on October 3rd 2018 as he played his first song.

He stood tall (literally he’s over 6 feet tall) and opened the night with “Like Real People Do,” as he managed to capture the attention and heart of every single person in the room. He immediately set the ambience for the evening. It was clear, the night was going to be dedicated to the beautiful healing power of music.

Photo cred: Shaun Luberski

Next, Hozier ditched the guitar as he belted his latest single, “Nina Cried Power.” The protest anthem, which was inspired by Miss Simone herself, is directly off of Hozier’s New EP (i99 Radio Review here). It was nearly impossible not to feel the energy and passion exuding off of Hozier, the band and back-up singers. With the energy and passion radiating throughout the room, the audience could sense Hozier was thanking the legend, Miss Simone, for using her voice to advocate for change.

Throughout the night, Hozier created a perfect blend of old and new by following “Nina Cried Power” with the bluesy, rock track, “Jackie and Wilson.” It was obvious Hozier was becoming more comfortable in-front of the audience, through this smile and asking for crowd participation. The crowd happily complied as they sung in unison, “raise them on rhythm and blues.”

As the evening progressed Hozier’s comfort in front of the audience grew, as he figuratively and literally ‘let his hair down.’ He was not a man of many words but the music spoke for it self. Midway through the set, he performed one of my favorites off of the new EP, “NFWMB,” an acronym for ‘Nobody F*cks With My Baby,’ and described it as a “love song for the end of the world.” Song after song, Hozier effortlessly transitioned different guitars throughout the set. He gave the band a quick break and stood alone in the spotlight as he played an acoustic version of “Cherry Wine,” where he serenaded the crowd.

Hozier continued to give a taste of what is to come with the new album by playing two tracks off of the EP, which included: “Shrike,” the slow, build-up, rock tune, and “Moment’s Silence (Common Tongue),” which is very reminiscent of his debut album. After the two new tracks, he promised the audience we would know the next one.

Hozier stuck to his word and delivered, “Someone New.” The crowd snapped their fingers and sung along, as the track slowly built, sounding slightly different with less instruments than the recorded version. “Someone New” continued to progress and the seven-piece band eventually went into a complete jam session. It was extremely evident that the band has established an ebb and flow. They know how to work with one another while still highlighting individual abilities. Hozier was often at the forefront on these jam sessions, shredding away.

After jamming, the night took a surprising turn, when Hozier announced the band would be playing an unreleased track called, “Movement.” Hozier explained to the audience this would give them a taste of the new album. In addition, he admitted somewhat slyly that “Movement” was one of his favorites. “Movement” provided breathy vocals and a sexy R & B vibe. The audience was both impressed and surprised by the latter. If the evening had a theme, it would definitely be the perfect balance of old and new.

As if right on cue, Hozier eased from the new, “Movement” into the old “Take Me to Church.” Artists, musicians and bands often get asked if they dislike playing their most popular track, but this did not seem to be the case for Hozier. “Take Me to Church” felt spiritual, healing and like a total mind and body release. Hozier even exhaled when it was over, as if he had nothing else to give. It was truly powerful to witness.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and Hozier’s time at the Fillmore was ticking-away. After “Take Me to Church,” the night was capped off with an Encore of something old and new. The new, being a fun cover of Destiny’s Child, “Say By Name” and the old, being the long-awaited, “Work Song.” Hozier thanked his band, the opening band: Hudson Taylor, his manager, the audio engineer and every single person in the audience. As the audience trickled out the doors of the Fillmore, every person left feeling healed by the power of music.

Be sure to catch Hozier live! Check out tour dates here!

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