Wow – that was unexpected. This might sound a bit harsh, but my experience of EP launches usually involves a fairly unknown singer-songwriter nervously dishing out barely-formed songs in a club in the back-arse of nowhere to an audience of awed relatives and bewildered hacks.
But Hozier’s gig in the Unitarian Church last night was something really, really special.
Hozier (Wicklow native and former Trinity Orchestra singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne) launched his aptly named Take Me To Church EP at a sold-out gig in the gorgeous Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green – and absolutely mesmerised the audience with his soulful, R&B tracks.
The evening opened with very special guest Stevie Appleby (lead singer of Little Green Cars) who treated us to some of his solo material.
A far cry from the rousing Little Green anthems, Appleby’s cracked, shy vocals, fantastic guitar playing and mournful lyrics even managed to coax a few audience members to shed a tear – including the poor girl in front of me who mysteriously vanished during the gig (hope you’re okay, hun).
You can check out Appleby’s stuff here.
After a brief interval, Hozier stepped up to the altar opening with ‘Like Real People Do’ (taken from the EP). It was clear from the offset that the solemn setting of the Unitarian Church would play a big part in adding a little magic to the evening.
For the remainder of the gig, the Wicklow man was backed by a six-piece band that included superb female vocals and cello (which sounded great when the group launched into a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’).
Some highlights included ‘Cherry Wine’, ‘Angel of Small Death’ and the popular ‘Take Me to Church’ – all from the EP – as well as ‘Someone New’, oldie ‘Sedated’ and newbie ‘Work Song’. But it’s hard to single out tracks from a set that just got better and better as it progressed.
The gig was “lovely but terrifying” for Hozier – and awesome (in the true, biblical sense of the word) for us. The audience showed its appreciation with a well-deserved standing ovation.
Take my word – you should check out Hozier now before things really kick off.