Recent Grammy nominee Andrew Hozier-Byrne took his headlining tour to Montreal’s beloved Metropolis with guest George Ezra last night in front of a sold out crowd. The buzz around this show had been huge with tickets selling quickly and people lining up outside the venue as early as 8 am.
Opener George Ezra, who had just recently joined the tour, played a handful of songs including “Listen to the Man”, “Cassy O” and mega hit “Budapest”. With a similar folk sound to that of Hozier, it was no surprise to find fans of his in the audience. Sporting a Habs Jersey with “Ezra” written on the back, a chatty George joked around when referring to getting hit by a car and pooped on by birds in his recent music video and suggested anyone who’s not a fan of his to go and find it on YouTube. Accompanying his songs with a quick background story of their origin, he got people into the mood and ready for Hozier.
Hozier opened his set with “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene”, gaining much appreciation from the crowd and kicking things off with a bang. Backed by his six-piece band, he performed every song off his debut album, two bonus songs from the deluxe version and two covers. Although his cover of “Illinois Blues” by Skip James, late blues singer, was met with no more than a handful of applause and quite a bit of ambient chatter, his cover of Ariana Grande’s “Problem”, recently performed on the BBC’s live lounge, was more than enough to make up for the temporary lull. Highlights definitely include an electric rendition of worldwide hit “Take Me to Church”, featuring every single member of the crowd, a hauntingly beautiful performance of bonus track “Arsonist’s Lullaby” and moving delivery of love song “Cherry Wine” during his encore set. The entire show came together with great sound engineering that allowed the crowd to relish in every sound the elaborate band produced and a minimalistic yet warming visual production. Hozier’s Blues/Folk/Gospel fusion offered an eclectic and diverse experience with a few killer moments worthy of a proper rock show. Hozier made everyone forget their long wait in the cold with immaculate vocals and ever so shy and humble attitude. Let’s not discredit the reliable and welcoming Montreal crowd who’s “reputation precedes them”, as said by Hozier himself and who did what, according to the singer, no crowd has ever done before by lighting up the room with their cellphones and lighters during “Cherry Wine”. After thanking George Ezra and every member of the band, Hozier left the stage, leaving the crowd to bask in the memory of this magical night.