Multi-platinum singer-songwriter Hozier took Sydney to church with soul and blues at his Opera House debut. His ethereal voice and vocals soared to the towering ceilings of the Sydney Opera House’s epic concert hall.
Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, this is the Irish blues-rock singer’s second time performing in Sydney, following a sold-out tour in 2015.
The hall was packed out, at first, we all remained seated but Hozier wasn’t having that for long. After the third song, he told us to get up onto our feet to join him in dance and song. At one point, an older couple did some swing dancing in the aisles. Not bad for a Monday night!
The set included bluesy folk tunes along with grittier, drum beat-heavy R&B and soul tracks, showcasing the Irishman’s ethereal musical style which perfectly encapsulates his rich soulful vocals and confessional lyrics. He creates a haunting vulnerability that makes you forget that you are in a crowd of thousands listening to one man croon — with seven supporting artists.
He performed all his most popular songs, including fan favourite five-time platinum “Take Me to Church” and his latest tracks from his second album, Wasteland, Baby! available now on Spotify and other usual outlets which just earned the artist his first no. 1 place on the Billboards 200 Albums chart. The album followed the meteoric success of his latest EP, Nina Cried Power (2018), his first music collection in four years, which features the legendary Mavis Staples and pays homage to artists who harness their craft for social justice and change.
The passion which Hozier’s music evokes was reflected not only in his own performance but mirrored in the equally passionate performances of his talented and tightly timed seven-piece supporting band. My eye was constantly drawn to singer-songwriter Suzanne Santo giving her all as she provided backing vocals, violin, guitar and more — all while wearing a pretty sweet hat.
Stage banter was kept to a minimum, but Hozier did share the inspiration behind his song Shrike named for a small butcher bird who hangs up its prey, small but vicious, which he felt was “perfect for a love song, beautiful and utterly terrifying”.
As a fan of Hozier’s, I know you are all shocked by that admission, being able to see him perform live in the iconic location of my adopted city was incredible and I am very grateful to the Sydney Opera House for the opportunity to attend and share my experience.
Hozier’s sophomore album Wasteland, Baby! is available now. His Australian tour dates include April 22 and 23 at the Sydney Opera House, April 25 and 26 at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre. Check out his website for more details.
F&B Specialist. She is usually seen with a flat white in hand or on her way to a craft beer or whiskey tasting. Needs to stop buying books and start reading them.