On September 22, Hozier played Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston. The venue, comparatively small to that of other surrounding venues such as Gillette Stadium, Fenway, or TD Garden, only has 5,000 seats. The indoor-outdoor atmosphere and cozy size make this location one of the more intimate venues – which is a rarity when it comes to such a popular artist.
Irish singer-songwriter Hozier – known for his poetic lyricism and folk melodies – amasses over 28 million monthly listeners and over two billion streams on Spotify. Despite this enormous following, Hozier’s fan-artist relationship continues to be acoustic, close-knit, and personal.
Hozier’s past albums “Wasteland, Baby!” and self-titled “Hozier” established him as a talented songwriter, and his newest “Unreal Unearth” continues this thread with a more structured theme and narrative. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, the first part of the 14th century epic poem “Divine Comedy,” and written during the pandemic lockdown, this album follows the narrative of a journey through nine rings of Hell and emerging on the other side. This album is also the first of Hozier’s discography to feature lyrics in Irish.
Some of my favorite songs from the album include “Eat Your Young,” “Francesca,” and “Unknown / Nth.” “Eat Your Young” – the album’s single release – employs a fascinating melody and use of background vocals. “Francesca” continues Hozier’s repertoire of beautiful love ballads.
The show opened with “De Selby (Part I),” and Hozier’s vocals did not disappoint. Combined with a simplistic background and colorful lighting, the mood of the show seamlessly transitioned from slow and soft pieces like “Cherry Wine” to anthems such as “Take Me to Church” that led the audience to sing along.
Though the venue is especially vulnerable to less than ideal weather conditions – being partially outdoors – the night was cool and clear. Hozier brought on extremely talented musicians and singers to accompany his songs. The set-list was a well curated list of fan-favorites and new pieces.
The intimacy of the venue, dynamics of the audience, and well thought out set list coupled with the symbolism and genius lyricism of Hozier, made for a beautiful show.