Focusing mainly on songs from his sophomore album, Hozier effortlessly belted his latest songs for the sold-out crowd at Manhattan’s Hammerstein Ballroom on Saturday night, including huge songs like “Nina Cried Power,” “Movement,” and “Almost (Sweet Music)” – not coincidentally the first three songs on his latest hit record.
It’s truly impressive to watch Hozier sing on stage, as it seems like he’s barely even trying, yet sounds as good if not better than his records. Hozier doesn’t just sing his songs – he gets creative with their arrangements as well. Unafraid of riffing and playing with the tempo of his songs in a live setting, Hozier’s live style adds both a degree of tension and invokes a sense of awe from the crowd, as he playfully dances away from tempos and perfectly syncopated lines that fans know in his recordings, adding some extra spice to the live show.
During the middle of the set, for instance, playing the popular “From Eden” off of his debut album, Hozier slowed the tempo down to nearly half time so that fans would feel the emotionality of the song, in what was likely the original tempo he wrote it in. While sometimes difficult for fans to keep singing at the slower tempo, it showcased the integrity in his voice and his clever lyricism on which he’s built his acclaim.
Not alone on stage, the show was full of energy propelled by Hozier’s incredible live band, which consisted of at least seven members that I could count, including: himself, drums, percussion, keys, piano, bass, and rhythm/strings. Each member was a talented musician in their own right, displaying their own personalities throughout each song, which made it even more enjoyable to watch Hozier as a band, and not just a solo artist.
On top of Hozier’s singularly recognizable voice and the prowess of his band, clever lyric videos added visual appeal and encouraged the crowd to sing along during songs like “Almost (Sweet Music),” while videos from real protests and social justice moments flashed throughout “Nina Cried Power,” and a recurring wall + window visual set a scene mimicking the bedroom in his Wasteland, Baby! album announcement video.
All of these visual elements combined with the live energy built a story alongside Hozier’s words and created an immersive, and truly connected experience for fans that furthered the depth at which they could experience Hozier’s music all night long.
NEW YORK / NOV 23 SETLIST:
Hozier’s Wasteland, Baby! U.S. tour wraps up on Tuesday night with a fifth and final show at Hammerstein Ballroom – resale tickets are still available in limited quantities.