Review: Hozier at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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Gorgeous

A spectacular performance combining beautiful vocals, gorgeous sounds and a pretty lightshow.

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Let’s not kid ourselves… we all know that Hozier would not give us any less than a 5-star performance, since he is God of all music. However, his performance at the O2 Guildhall surprised me as having the best sound quality I’ve ever heard here, since the Guildhall has definitely not been my favourite venue in terms of its acoustics.

Supported by David Keenan, who provided the audience with some quite unique music combining spoken word/poetry with some beautiful guitar, the Guildhall gradually filled up with more and more people to witness the man himself come on stage.

Entering to a loud applause and an extremely excitable crowd, Hozier emerged onto the stage (before 9pm, which is certainly a quality I like in a gig…) and began to grace the audience with ‘As It Was’. This song is beautifully haunting on the record, however performed live is truly comes alive and is guaranteed to give you alllll the goosebumps, as Hozier’s vocals perfectly permeate over the subtle, plucked strings. His voice actually almost brought me to tears, despite it being the third time I had seen him live, purely because of how powerful his vocals are.

With the release of Wasteland, Baby! out earlier this year, it was the first time I had heard much of the newer songs live, and they certainly did not disappoint. Compared to his songs from Hozier, they are more energetic and funky live, and more fascinating to watch too due to number of instruments and voices involved in the artistry of his music. Some crowd favourites from the new album were probably ‘Movement’ or ‘Dinner & Diatribes’, possibly due to the immense power in the vocals, perfectly complemented by some funky guitar riffs.

One of my favourite parts of every Hozier show is his immense gratitude towards the members of the band, in which he dedicates all sufficient time for the audience to applaud their incredible talents. There are not many artists nowadays that would dedicate an entire section of time in thanking their bands, and I think this definitely makes Hozier’s shows feel much more special, knowing the close bonds they possess as a band. Their stage presence as a band was also incredibly heart-warming because of how joyful they obviously all were; their happiness in performing was definitely transferred to the crowd as everyone was so loud and energetic.

Another particularly memorable part of the show for me was his complimentary comments towards us as a crowd; he seemed genuinely overwhelmed with our volume, and commented that we sung the songs the best he had heard in a while, and even called us ‘outrageous’. One thing is for certain at a Hozier gig: it is absolutely impossible to stand still or silent. One must move, dance, cry, sing, do ALL the things to truly appreciate the artistry and talent you are witnessing.

A Hozier show is not complete without a pretty lightshow of course, and the lightshow in the Guildhall was definitely the most impressive I have seen of his thus far. With a gorgeous blue light backdrop (obviously relating back to the aesthetics of Wasteland, Baby!) for some songs, and a particularly fantastic show of moving white lights for ‘Movement’. It’s also worth mentioning the somewhat moody sillouette of Hozier that always appears on some walls at every gig of his, which is an incredibly beautiful thing to witness.

‘Work Song’ is by far my absolute favourite by him, and I love that he continues to play it as the final song in the encore, rather than the perhaps more obvious choice ‘Take Me To Church’. However much I may diss ‘Take Me To Church’ as being ‘too popular’, I must admit the power in this song is so immense live that it is spectacular to witness. Seeing people of all ages scream along to the lyrics passionately is always extremely memorable.

Be sure to keep up to date with the latest Hozier news here.

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Live Editor 2019/20. English student who loves writing about gigs.

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