Andrew Hozier-Byrne, the young 24 year old Irishman, currently taking the world by storm, made a stop in Philly last Saturday night to play to a sold out crowd. The Trocadero was packed upon arrival with folks anxiously awaiting Hozier to take the stage. They had a while to wait, seeing that the Troc seemed to be running fashionably late (30 minutes late at that).
The crowd was getting antsy, until James Bay finally hit the stage around 8:30 to treat us to a 40 minute set of his delicate songs and smooth vocal stylings. James has been making his rounds in the UK indie community for the last few years. He’s recently been receiving attention for his new single ‘Let it Go’ (no, not the Frozen song, this one is much better) which was released earlier this year. This was part of James’s second US tour, which I could pick up on his excitement amongst the frustration of everyone chatting through his introductions of the songs.
By 9:30 it was time for Hozier to hit the stage. The band walked out to a magnitude of applause, screams, and shouts. This show marked Hozier’s first official Philly show, having only played a Radio 104.5 Session a few months back, and Non-Comm Festival for XPN earlier this year. Andrew was accompanied by an extremely talented backup band of six members, made up of a cellist, two backup singers, drummer, synth and bassist, and keys.
Andrew would start off just about every song with a little intro intro the background and meaning of the song. I’m not sure if the crowd was into this, since it seemed like the majority thought this was a good time to talk over him, or using it as a time to heckle. Hozier’s performance was incredible. The band have their live sound down and it’s as flawless as the recorded versions of the songs. The entire band usually joins in on vocals, really giving us all an almost gospel choir aspect to the background. They treated us to the majority of the songs off the new album, changing up the set-up throughout the show. Quarter of the way through the set list, the band broke down to just Andrew, the cellist, and drummer for a song. Then break down further to just Andrew playing ‘Cherry Wine’ and a cover of ‘Illinois Blues’ by Skip James, a classic blues player he cites as one of his major influences. ‘In a Week’ was next, where Andrew was joined by Alana Henderson (his cellist) on vocals. The full band then reunited on stage for the remainder of the three songs, before returning for an encore, which included an unexpected cover by Amerie’s ‘1 Thing.’
Finishing off the show, the band gathered for a group bow and reluctantly walked off the stage. I’d say don’t miss him next time he’s back around in Philly in March, but that show is already sold out as well, so hopefully the majority of you have tickets. If you haven’t picked up a copy of Hozier’s self-titled album, be sure to do so. It’s beautiful, solid piece of work that any lover of song lyrics will automatically fall in love with.
Like Real People Do
Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
Jackie & Wilson
To Be Alone
It Will Come Back
Illinois Blue (Skip James cover)
In a Week
Take Me to Church
1 Thing (Amerie cover)