Hozier at The Marquee Theatre

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Hozier at The Marquee Theatre 4/19

by Ann Marie Schlup

 

In a profile I wrote about Hozier last October, I said 2015 could be the singer-songwriter’s biggest year. Flash-forward to six months later, he’s a platinum-selling recording artist, playing sold-out tour dates across the U.S.—Sunday’s show at The Marquee Theatre in Tempe was one of them.

By the time doors opened at 6:30, the line of fans nearly stretched down to the Mill Avenue Bridge. The demography of concertgoers was a good mix, ranging from high school-aged girls and guys to adult women and men. Once inside the venue, it was an hour-long wait before the show started with special guests Low Roar, who subdued the crowd with their ethereal, instrumental-driven sound.

Once Hozier hit the stage around 9:00, he proved he was well worth the wait. He opened his set with “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” and immediately livened up the crowd with his powerful voice and heavy guitar riffing. The stage was adorned with standing light bulbs, giving the show a warm, intimate feel. He performed every song from his debut self-titled album, and fans swayed and sang along to every one of them. Crowd favorites were his more upbeat tracks, like “From Eden”, “Jackie and Wilson”, and “Someone New”. But the crowd had amazing enthusiasm for every song, and Hozier noticed it. Being that it was his first time in Arizona, he thanked everyone multiple times for giving him a fantastic welcome to the state. The standout performance to me was when he and his cello player, Alana Henderson, performed the lullaby ballad, “In a Week”. It was hauntingly beautiful, and I still get chills thinking about it. The Irish musician also educated everyone on blues folk rock with his cover of Skip James’ “Illinois Blues”. This performance really highlighted how crazy talented of a guitarist he is, and I was in awe of how his fingers strummed so fluidly and effortlessly. The word “effortless” greatly describes Hozier. He doesn’t need to move around the stage or have flashy stage effects to be captivating—he just commands the stage with humbleness and a true love for what he does. Plus, he sounds even better live than he does in the studio versions of his tracks and one simply can’t go wrong with that.

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As soon as the first note of “Take Me to Church” played, the crowd roared in cheers. They sang every word of the platinum international hit and were almost as loud as Hozier himself. Once the song was over, he briefly exited the stage and returned for his encore. He performed a stripped down version of “Cherry Wine”, and one of his earliest and most underrated songs, “Run”, which was another highlight performance for me. He then switched things up and played an unexpected and sick cover of Amerie’s “1 Thing”, which sounded unrecognizable until the chorus hit. He ended the show with his current single “Work Song”, one of my favorites on the album.

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Hozier’s show is definitely in the top ranks for best concerts I’ve ever been to. No artist has made me truly feel their music on a near spiritual level like he had, and hearing it live was just otherworldly. Thankfully, he will be returning to Arizona on September 24th for Day 1 of the Summer Ends Music Festival, and if I were you, I wouldn’t miss it.

 

Setlist:

  1. Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene
  2. From Eden
  3. Jackie and Wilson
  4. Someone New
  5. Sedated
  6. It Will Come Back
  7. In a Week (with Alana Henderson)
  8. Illinois Blues (Skip James cover)
  9. Like Real People Do
  10. Arsonist’s Lullabye
  11. To Be Alone
  12. Foreigner’s God
  13. Take Me to Church

Encore:

  1. Cherry Wine
  2. Run
  3. 1 Thing (Amerie cover)
  4. Work Song
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