Review by Katie Flint, Photography by Danielle Boise
Last Friday (Friday the 13th of all days!), Ireland and UK’s Hozier and George Ezra played together for a sold out crowd at Atlanta’s famous Tabernacle. This show has been sold out for months, so being able to review this show was probably the biggest treat for me this week. I knew the big songs by these two singer/songwriters, but it was the lesser known songs by each are what melted me. My friend Diane and I went together, and headed upstairs into the mezzanine of the Tabernacle. As much as we would like to be in the pit downstairs, we decided we wanted to sit down and enjoy the music, and we did just that.
George Ezra was up first. I was personally more excited for him than I was for Hozier. After watching his SNL performance, I wasn’t sure how he would be live. Anyway, George Ezra comes on and starts playing his first song “Cassy O” and immediately the women in the audience are in love. He can play a guitar very well, but the boy has some pipes. And normally a so-called “attractive singer” from my perspective has been a tenor/baritone when it comes to vocal section. I’m pretty sure George Ezra is a bass because he can hit those low notes.
He started playing “Listen to The Man” and he started to open up more the audience. He must have been nervous, but that’s okay; he was great anyway. What was really nice about his performance was that there wasn’t a lot of material, but there was a lot of context in his material. His first album was all about his travels in Europe, hence the namesakes “Barcelona” and “Budapest.” The story behind “Budapest” was pretty funny, and as a person he just seems like a good kid doing what he loves.
He ended is surprisingly short set with an extended version of “Did you Hear The Rain?” which started with a long a capella intro, showcasing that voice as golden as his hair. Everyone in the venue was about to bow down to that voice. We were definitely not worthy.
Hozier was up next. His set up was a lot bigger than George’s, which included also a cello, synths and two backup singers. I wish that we had just him, but knowing his inspiration from choral music, the backup singers of different octaves made sense.
He started his set with “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” which changed the atmosphere of the concert from upbeat acoustics to a passionate blues-rock show. With every song that Hozier played, everyone around me went nuts, which was good for him, but for me it was a little overwhelming. I wanted to just sit and relax to the beautiful music.
As he went through his set, one thing I noticed is that he didn’t talk much in between songs. He only really talked before “Someone New” and “In A Week” where it had to do with love. Which indicates where a good percentage of his music may be stemming from, but whose music isn’t?
He ended his initial set with his biggest hit, “Take Me to Church” and everyone stood up to give praise to Hozier. As he left, he got ready for a long four-song encore. The encore included an intimate performance of “Cherry Wine” paired with an homage to his cover from BBC One Radio, “Problem” by Ariana Grande. I felt like I was one of the few that noticed that he added a hint of “Regulate” by Warren G while singing “Problem.” Well played, Hozier.
The show as a whole was a perfect example on how successful these two gentlemen have become. If you didn’t get a chance to see Hozier last night, he’s coming back in May! He’ll be playing May 8 at Chastain Park Amphitheater a little further out from the city. You can get tickets here.