On Tuesday night, Hozier and his support Wyvern Lingo played a rescheduled show at the Forum in London, as the original gig – which was meant to happen 3 weeks ago – was postponed due to illness. However this had little deterrence regarding the crowd’s enthusiasm, the sold out show was filled to the brim with fans of all ages.
Wyvern Lingo come on to a cheer from the audience, the three Irish women all take their places on stage: Karen Cowley on Vocals/Piano, Saoirse Duane on Guitar and Caoimhe Barry on Vocals/Percussion. Bray, in Ireland just outside Dublin, is where the three piece come from, as well as Hozier; with the small Irish town seeming like a hub for good music at the moment. The group leap into playing ‘Sweet Life Ruiner’, a song with catchy riffs and the mantra of “I’ll take him back anyway”, before announcing a cover of one of their ‘favourite bands at the moment’, Alt-J’s ‘Left Hand Free’. They give the song a heavier twist, with aspects of reggae even being detected, truly making it their own.
Cowley says how happy the band is to be back on tour with Hozier, also proclaiming about it being the hottest day of the year. ‘Fairytale’, off their latest EP released back in October, is then performed; the melodic reminiscing song is sung eerily beautifully by Cowley “Baby, don’t go / baby, I’m sorry”. The band also plays ‘Fools’, which is a showcase of their perfected harmonies. Calling the crowd ‘lovely people’ and telling them they will see them soon when they bring their autumn tour to London, they finish with ‘Used’, another track which highlights their harmonies and proves them to be one of the most exciting and talented new bands.
Hozier himself was definitely the man of the evening, presenting a faultless show with his full backing band. Opening with ‘Eden’ before going into ‘Jackie and Wilson’, everyone in the crowd was singing along, enraptured and mesmerised by the man on stage. Hozier – otherwise known as Andrew Bryne – adorned worn down brown boots, skinny black jeans and a shirt, and remained situated on a small area of carpet at the centre of the stage for the duration of the show. Nonetheless, he seemed to own the stage, credit to an unintentional, all- encompassing stage presence. Bryne performed tracks from his debut album such as ‘Come Back’, ‘To Be Alone’, and the ‘frivolous’ ‘Someone New’, alongside a cover by Skip James – ‘Illinois Blues’ – who he claimed was influential to him growing up, his music even encouraging him to learn the guitar.
Karen Cowley from Wyvern Lingo was also brought on stage at one point to sing a duet with Hozier, giving a haunting live performance of ‘In A Week’, as Cowley featured in the track on his album. Before performing the track, Bryne went into the idea behind it; recalling the Wicklow hills in Ireland near to the county where both Bryne and Cowley are from, and how couples would wander off into the hills alone and stay there for days at a time. The song is in fact based around an Irish lullaby that warned against sex in public places (the hills). The two gave a mesmerising acoustic performance, the imagery inducing lyrics “I have never known hunger like these insects that feast on me/ A thousand teeth and yours among them” creating a dreamy atmosphere in The Forum.
Hozier ended the show with ‘Take Me to Church’, people rushing up onto their feet when the first few seconds started playing, months of it constantly being on the radio seemingly not lessening anyone’s affection for the song. Exuberated chants of ‘Encore’ provoked Hozier to return to the stage for two more songs, performing the intricate ‘Cherry Wine’ and then an unexpected cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘One Less Problem’, giving the pop track a rockier feel, so much so that it was unrecognisable at first.
Although some affiliate Hozier with only one song – ‘Take Me to Church’ – perhaps regarding him as an almost one hit wonder, this is most definitely not the case; he commandeered the stage, whilst simultaneously appearing humble and grateful, and it’s exciting and entrancing to watch this talent reveal itself.
Words by Daisy Lester