Hozier – Live Review – Halifax Piece Hall
By Christine Goode, July 2023
An unusually busy train take us to Halifax where crowds of people get off and start heading up the hill towards Halifax’s Piece Hall. There is already an enormous queue outside, of super fans all patiently waiting to get the best places available at the concert… Hozier is in town.
We sit in a nearby bar watching as people from all walks of life go past. There are many bright summer colours and some adorned in flower crowns, they are all flocking to see this Irish icon, who rose to prominence in 2013 with his unforgettable multi -platinum hit ‘Take Me To Church’.
Drawing inspiration from folk, R&B and blues, Hozier has gone on to create the most incredible music and now has a huge following and appeals to all age groups from all backgrounds. We now join the crowd and head into the beautiful Grade 1 listed building that is The Piece Hall.
As we enter the courtyard the energy is high, and I am unsure of what to expect, as although I do have some of his music in my collection it is mainly the well-known hits that one would hear on mainstream radio stations. People are excitedly buzzing around and we are met by another long queue, but not for drinks or food, this is for merchandise – testament to the diehard fans who want to keep the memory of tonight’s concert alive.
Supporting act Victoria Canal has just started her set, her voice is angelic and her lyrics are deep and meaningful, drawing on previous heartbreak. The songs are beautiful, however there is quite a lot of chatting that I feel loses the flow of the set. Shortly after second support guest, Allison Russell comes onto the stage with her new release ‘The Returner’. I admit I have never heard of Canal or Russell until now, but they are definitely ones I will be adding to my music library.
The band now appears and the crowd screams out as a familiar towering frame emerges and stands centre stage. He bursts straight into his latest release ‘Eat Your Young’. We are all singing and dancing along to the soulful beat. The atmosphere is intense and without a pause he continues with more favourites, ‘From Eden’ and ‘Jackie and Wilson’. The influence of his music is incredible, everywhere I look it seems everybody knows every lyric as the set list is formed on the solid foundations of previous albums, with firm favourites such as, ‘Almost (Sweet Music)’, ‘Tell It To My Heart’, ‘Movement’ and ‘Someone New’. The Band now leaves the stage and he plays ‘Cherry Wine’ solo, one of my favourite moments as he displays flawlessly his captivatingly haunting voice. We stand in silent appreciation, erupting into rapturous applause at the end.
The band come back on stage and guest artist Victoria Canal is invited to duet with him on ‘Like Real People Do’, their voices blending together wondefully. A true gentleman as he acknowledges the band fondly and introduces them as well as thanking his support artists seeming genuinely upset that tonight was her last performance with the tour.
The climatic sounds of ‘Take Me To Church’ at the end is breathtaking, the lights, heavy bass sound is spine chilling and I have goosebumps! After seeing Hozier for the first time and getting a sneak preview of his new single ‘Unknown’ ahead of its release, I and thousands of adoring fans are now looking forward to his forthcoming album Unreal Unearth coming in August.
images: Cuffe and Taylor & The Piece Hall