Belfast Telegraph

Hozier at Belsonic: Rich and intimate set brings the house down

Review: Custom House Square, Belfast

By Andrew Johnston

Hozier played his final date on these shores last night in Belfast before departing to regale the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for much of the rest of 2015.

It was as rousing a send-off as the Bray-born singer-songwriter could have hoped for.

It’s likely that, in years to come, fans will recall the gig as being one of the more intimate affairs in Hozier’s live history.

The man is undoubtedly on the cusp of super-stardom, judging by his non-stop touring both here and abroad.

His breakthrough hit Take Me to the Church was also the most played song on music-sharing website Spotify during 2014.

Andrew Hozier-Byrne, to give him his full moniker, may have had a full band with him, but all eyes were on the denim-clad, scruffy-haired troubadour.

The set began with Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene, surely the most elaborately titled track performed at Belsonic thus far, and it sounded good musically too.

Hozier’s rich crooning was underpinned by an insistent, thudding bass drum, while the main man’s unfussy guitar solo meshed with some brilliantly moody cello-playing from local star Alana Henderson, making a return to home turf.

Next song Hey Eden was deceptively upbeat, its jarring riffs belying the sweet nature of the melody.

A wonderfully bluesy, singalong rendition of Jackie and Wilson continued the opening.

Elsewhere, It Will Come Back featured some greasy blues guitar and the melancholy ballad In a Week saw the frontman duet with a radiant Henderson.

The 25-year-old offered a warm presence throughout, balancing his technical ability with heaps of charisma.

Needless to say, Take Me to the Church brought the house down, but the preceding 90 minutes or so had proved that Hozier is much more than a one-hit wonder.

Four stars

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