I remember the Instagram post well.
After years of what seemed to be a much needed break, Hozier was announcing his US tour in support of his most recent album on all of his social media platforms, and somewhere between the dates for Charlotte and Atlanta was Columbia.
Hozier was going to be gracing Township Auditorium with his presence. And that’s exactly what he did last Wednesday, when he took the stage.
His voice has taken a turn to the incredibly soulful, having taken notes from singers such as Mavis Staples, who sings on his hit “Nina Cried Power.” Through his newest release, he was able to cement these influences alongside the trademark forest-dwelling-folk vibe that emerged from his debut. During his live performances, however, there’s no doubt that Hozier is a powerhouse vocalist who exchanges his occasionally modest ballads for moving and powerful soul.
Weaving in crowd favorites from 2014’s Hozier, such as “Jackie and Wilson” and the bluesy “To Be Alone,” most of the performance was a raw yet eloquent display that only Hozier could pull off. From the songs off of his most recent album, Wasteland, Baby!, the crowd was most familiar with hits like “Would That I,” and “Movement,” which were enhanced by the backing band, adding more elements to the already intricate songs.
It was “Nina Cried Power” that really got through to the masses; so much so that a crowd flooded themselves past the orchestra seating to get closer to the stage. The song represents the impact of the 20th century musicians on both Hozier himself and the civil rights movement. All of the musicians mentioned in the lyrics stood for some sort of message within their music.
We left the show before the encore, walking through a mass of people who had clamored to fill the spaces between seats as soon as the show had started; now they were all screaming for an encore, cell phone flashlights in the air, daring the roadies to start packing up the stage equipment.
When we reached the door, I could feel the entire auditorium shake; stomping feet and clapping hands vibrated through the floors of the balconies.