This Hozier article was written by Sam Jourdan, a GIGsoup contributor
It’s amazing how quickly one single can propel one artist to stardom today. Hozier found massive success in 2014 with the smash hit ‘Take Me To Church’, and soonafter dropped a successful record, from which 5 singles have been released to date. Less than two years after the fact, and Hozier has just finished a 3-day sold out run at the legendary Brixton Academy in London.
Last Friday’s gig saw the first concert of this run, with Hozier being supported by fellow-Irish trio Wyvern Lingo.
Wyvern Lingo took to the stage to a rapidly filling up Brixton Academy and immediately launched into their set. The band is comprised of three singer-instrumentalists, with one drummer; one keyboardist; and one guitarist. All three members of Wyvern Lingo had excellent voices, and while there were strong harmonies across the majority of their set, there was no clear ‘lead singer’ or ‘frontman’. With that said keyboardist Karen Cowley did the talking inbetween songs, which was short, sweet, and good-natured. Cowley let the audience know that her band were from Bray; the same town as Hozier, and that it was due to his kindness that they were performing tonight.
Sonically, Wyvern Lingo are difficult to precisely categorise; combining catchy indie-pop choruses with stripped-back R&B-verses and three-way harmonised vocals. The group did a solid job of winning over an audience largely unfamiliar with their material, and included a wonderful rendition of Alt-J’s ‘Left Hand Free’.
Hozier came on shortly thereafter to an enamoured crowd, quietly introducing himself before breaking into ‘Like Real People Do’. Hozier stormed through the first half of his set, accompanied by a stellar backing-band; seeing backing singers, two keyboards, guitars and a chellist. Reaching the mid-point of the evening, Hozier announced that the next song was not written by him, but by John Lennon, before breakinging into The Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’.
The crowd was immersed throughout the whole performance. Whenever prompted they would clap and sing to the singer or band’s command. This was seen in full force for ‘To Be Alone’, which was preceded by Hozier asking the crowd if they could “help me sing a few notes.” For ‘In A Week’, Hozier invited Karen Cowley from Wyvern Lingo onto the stage for a powerful duet, made more potent by the fact that it followed immediately after the hammering ‘Arsonists Lullaby’.
The set ended with ‘Take Me To Church’, which as predicted saw the crowd singing along with every lyric. Hozier came back on stage after a short encore armed merely with a guitar, and with no sight of his backing band played a beautiful rendition of ‘Cherry Wine’. The band was then introduced, as was the production team, before ‘Work Song’.