Hozier at Shepherd's Bush Empire, gig review: Mind-blowing talent

Irish singer-songwriter intersperses serious music with sharp wit delightfully

Roisin O'Connor
Sunday 01 February 2015 15:46 GMT
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Hozier performing at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London
Hozier performing at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London

In the surrounding gloom of Shepherd’s Bush Empire, a tall, lean figure takes his place on the stage and hums out the first few notes of “Angel Of Small Death & the Codeine Scene”.

Interspersing the seriousness of his music with sharp wit, it’s clear that Hozier never expected the level of success that seems to have come so swiftly.

"It Will Come Back" is slick, seductive and predatory, while the creeping notes in "To Be Alone" are held up with steady, hard drumbeats.

Singer-cellist Alana Henderson joins his side for the exquisitely haunting "In A Week", where a beautiful Irish hillside is more famous for the bodies found there than the view.

Alone on stage singing “Cherry Wine” for the encore, he pours out the kind of lyrics that hardcore fans tattoo on their bodies (“Sweet and right and merciful/ I’m all but washed/ In the tide of her breathing”).

It is possible that Hozier has no idea just quite how much of a delight it is to see him perform; a man who is so much more than “Take Me To Church”. Witnessed tonight is a mind-blowing talent who shows no sign of faltering any time soon.

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