Hozier played Boston on two cool rainy September nights that almost transported you to Ireland. Fans flocked to the Leader Bank Pavilion in Boston’s Seaport for these outdoor concerts under the shelter of the Pavilion’s wonderful dome. Andrew Hozier-Byrne, who hails from the coastal town of Bray just south of Dublin, played two sold out nights to an audience of all ages from very young children dancing in the aisle with their parents to older fans who took in the sounds and sights of the entire performance from their seats, and every one in between. The majority of the audience on Saturday evening, stood the entire performance feeling the weight of Hozier’s words. It was a night of dancing it out for some songs, being still and enveloped in the beauty and softness of others and being lulled by Hozier’s story-telling and soothing Irish accent in between. Hozier’s first EP was released in 2013 and I think just about everyone knows Take Me to Church at this point. The audience definitely did, singing along word for word. The last time Hozier performed in Boston was at The Paradise in May of 2023. Boston fans will no doubt be scrambling for tickets again next time Hozier is in town. With a voice like his, his ability to tell tales through his music, his connection with the audience, and a heart more vast than the coastline, he is hard not to fall head over heels for.
Hozier had Madison Cunnigham as his opener. Someone he called, “One of Irelands greatest new talents”. After Cunningham’s set, the stage was laid out for what looked like a 10-piece band, and in fact Hozier’s crew was quite large and talented playing everything from percussion to strings and partnering on vocals. I love that Hozier knows how to be the star that he is, but shines only as bright so as to allow those around him to still be seen. What I mean is he can showcase his own vocals and guitar playing and still highlight those around him. Hozier even listed a huge number of his team from lighting and graphics to soundboard and musicians by name at the end of the show and recognized the 52 people that put on the concert with him. Of course, Boston has deep Irish roots and many of the audience members share that heritage, which was definitely a point of connection for Hozier. The audience was a mix of not just those who share Irish roots, because Hozier’s music taps into so much that is just a shared human experience. One of my favourite moments in the show was when Hozier spoke to the audience about a Gaeilge word that he didn’t learn when he was a small child in school, but learned about more recently. The word is uiscefhuaraithe and he talked about the meaning of the word and connected with the New England audience over that feeling that only those who live in a similar climate experience and know well. That feeling of climbing into a cold bed and waiting for it to warm up from the heat of our bodies. It was something we could all relate to, and could feel looming considering we were all outside on one of these first cool and damp evenings of fall. This moment reminded me how poetic the Irish language is and made me think not only of the song Hozier was about to sing: To Someone From A Warm Climate, but also about how the human experience can have so many subtle differences not just the major ones we often think about.
Hozier’s Unreal/Unearth tour continues across the US with most shows already sold out. Find a full list of tour dates here. You can catch Hozier this weekend with tickets still available for Sound on Sound in Bridgeport CT on October 1st. Hozier also made a surprise appearance at the boygenius concert at MGM Fenway on Monday, September 25th to great screeches of joy and shock by the audience joining Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus for Salt in the Wound for the encore.