Hozier isn’t much of a showman.
Thursday night at The Fillmore, the Irish musician didn’t say a word to the crowd until three songs into the set –“Hello Charlotte” – and, after that, only strayed away from “thank you” or a standard song introduction a handful of times.
The only decoration on the stage was the backdrop: his name scrawled in white paint on a black background.
He wore a tan jacket over a T-shirt, with his wavy hair coming down to his shoulders and he rarely, if ever, strayed more than a few feet from his microphone stand (complete with cup holder).
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But maybe you don’t need to be much of a showman with a voice like that.
Hozier – born Andrew Hozier-Byrne – has a pure voice that has as much power when it’s lilting over a acoustic guitar ballad as it does when it’s soaring over a full-band bluesy rocker.
After opening act George Ezra played a quick 30-minute set, highlighted by single “Budapest,” Hozier, backed by a six-piece band that included a cello and two back-up singers, came out to screams that drowned out the first few bars of opener “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene.”
This wasn’t a sold-out crowd that came just to hear the hit single off Hozier’s self-titled debut album. It sang along to singles “From Eden” and “Jackie and Wilson,” as well as deeper cuts like “To Be Alone” and “Sedated.” Each song sounded just as clean live as on the album.
The crowd was calling for the clap-along “Work Song” before Hozier played it to close the 1 hour and 25 minute, 17-song set.
But hit single “Take Me to Church,” played just before the encore, is what brought out all of the cell phone videographers.
The majority of Hozier’s interaction with the crowd came during the stripped-down middle section. He talked about his home country and the green hills of Wicklow, the home of cellist Alana Henderson, before the two sang a duet of “In a Week” over just a resonator guitar.
Another glimpse into his personality was his graciousness. He repeatedly thanked the crowd throughout the show, almost seeming surprised by the reception he was getting his first time playing in Charlotte.
Then, after introducing his band, he introduced the crew, including the light operator and the person working the merchandise table.
And after the final hand clap of “Work Song,” he brought the band to the center of the stage and the members all took a bow together.
Inscoe: 704-358-5923; Twitter: @CoreyInscoe