Houston weather is predictable in its unpredictability so the early spring, 30-degree drop that happened Saturday just shortly before Andrew Hozier-Bryne hit the stage at the Revention Center should have been a surprise to no one that’s lived here for at least a season.
Fans quickly rushed into the arena to escape the winds that whipped through the theater district. The weather change may have been a shock to the Irish singer and his band, but the group, composed of no less than an organist, a keyboardist, a drummer, at least two guitarists, a violinist and many more had no problem raising the temperature.
Hozier stood center stage, flanked by his musicians, in front of a backdrop of two huge windows with the drapes pulled closed. The singer appeared equally proud and appreciative of his musical collective and the opportunity to perform as he expressed gratitude to the group and audience during the show saying “Thank you Houston for giving us your Saturday night. And please give a round of applause for the band.” He would applaud them as a group and individually at many points as the night progresses.
The show was surprisingly robust for an artist that just released his second album this year. At its height a red fog drifted across the stage as a pulsing light synced with the bass drum of “To Be Alone” while Hozier, silhouetted by a single white spotlight led the packed house in a call and response bellow.
A fan hastily stumbled into arena as if called by the song and yelled “I wish I was a photographer so I could take a picture of this EXACT moment!” as the singular spotlight spiraled into thousands of auburn spears piercing the darkness around the audience. The light show, while impressive, didn’t take away from the lyrics which seemed to resonate heavily with the audience that collectively joined the vocalist in unison for most of the evening.
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Since releasing “Take Me To Church” the crooner has shown he can turn adversity into heartfelt music all while still managing to keep his sense of humor.
“There’s this thing called the Doomsday clock. It got down to two minutes…which is…not good,” laughed Hozier as he took a break to speak to the crowd. “When that happened, I was just sitting there and decided to write some love songs for the end of the world.” The lights dimmed purple and the band broke into the beginning of “Wasteland Baby.”
The show ebbed and flowed between the high energy of “Jackie and Wilson” and “Nina Cried Power” to love ballads like “Cherry Wine.” Hozier put a different spin on songs for his live performance and when given the opportunity showcased the talents of his musical collective falling back for them to perform solos during slower songs and battling each of them in duets when the pace quickened.
The night came to a close with the last few notes of “Work Song” drowned out by applause. I don’t know what the current time is displayed on the Doomsday clock but if Hozier is providing a soundtrack that is anything like what was played this evening maybe the apocalypse won’t be that bad.