April 22, 2024

New Fury Media

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Hozier returns to Utah for first time since 2019 with sold out show

By Molly McCoy

 

 

Hozier brought his Unreal Unearth tour, to the sold out crowd at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, on Friday, October 21st. This show is one of the final few of the US leg of tour, and it also marks his first stop back in Utah since 2019. Hozier fans filtered into the venue as the night they had been anticipating had finally arrived. Touring his newest album “Unreal Unearth” this night was set out to be nothing short of amazing.

Before diving into this review let me preface it with saying, however good you think Hozier sounds. You won’t be prepared for his live performance, this was one of the rare concerts where I left completely speechless. Between the visual effects of the stage and his exceptionally skilled vocal performance, I was at a loss for words for a while because it didn’t seem like there were the right words to describe what I had just experienced. With that said I will try to do the show justice with this review.

Opening the night was Madison Cunningham, I had never heard of her before then but the fans in the crowd certainly had as many were singing along with her throughout her set. Madison was a great pairing for this tour as her songs are folk rooted with a nice touch of rock. She mentioned to the crowd how grateful she was for this opportunity and when she was younger she had written down in a journal how one of her dreams would be to open for Hozier. Now, five years later she was living that dream. Madison played a great set and did a fantastic job of interacting with the crowd. My favorite song of the night was “Life According to Raechel” which was released on her Revealer album last fall. Madison has a gift for writing lyrics that are complex while also being filled with emotion. Madison is finishing off the US Leg of the tour with Hozier and I am excited to see where she goes next.

Finally it was time, lights dimmed as the band stepped out on stage, the crowd erupted in screams of anticipation before the moment came and Hozier stepped out on stage. As the backing of De Selby pt. 1 started playing, Hozier stepped up to the mike, took a breath and anytime he vocalized the crowd cheered louder and louder. Even with earplugs in the sound was piercing as everyone was losing their mind to him. He started the show the same way his album starts with De Selby pt.1 which seamlessly flowed into De Selby pt. 2. Following those songs he played Jackie and Wilson from one of his previous albums. As he finished singing he told the crowd that he truly believed that Salt Lake City was one of the loudest crowds they have had so far on this tour.

Not only does Hozier have incredible vocals and an impressive falsetto, but he also has a great sense of humor on stage. Before a song he instructed the crowd on what parts they would be singing, joking that there were no wrong notes except for the ones he doesn’t play. Later in the set he would joke that he was going to lift the mood before introducing the next song as being written about an animal that had been hit by a car. He has a very humble presence about him on stage, so the humor was an unexpected but nice surprise.

As the show continued I was in awe of the visual presentation, they had upside down trees that would occasionally come down from the top of stage that tied in nicely with the aesthetic of the album as well as the artwork of the singles he released leading up to the album.

During his song cherry wine there was what appeared to be a red moon and stars behind him on stage as he stood with an acoustic guitar. He encouraged the crowd to sing with him if they knew the song and the crowd was almost as loud as he was as they sang.

The night was nearing its end and the stage lights went dark before Hozier’s voice rang out with the start of his popular song, “Take Me to Church” from his first album. The crowd went crazy, as everyone sang along with him. The visuals for this performance were probably my favorite of the night as there were fake flames on the screen and around the stage as he sang. It was a little more rock heavy in the live version compared to the recorded version which was a nice addition for their final song. After a brief encore the band returned to the stage to sing 3 more songs. Hozier invited Madison Cunningham back out to sing “Work Song” as the final song of the evening, their voices blended together so well and the crowd adored the duet between the two of them.

With a handful of US shows left, all of which being sold out and a few more shows in Europe later this winter. One thing is for sure, Hozier is someone you need to see live, his vocal performance is unmatched and his songwriting is layered without being confusing. Friday night will be a night that fans remember forever as they patiently wait for Hozier’s next return to Salt Lake City.

Photo Gallery : Madison Cunningham – Maverik Center (10.21.2023)

 

Photo Gallery : Hozier – Maverik Center (10.21.2023)

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