Making his long awaited return to the United States to debut his new EP release, Hozier put on a truly powerful performance to sold out crowds at The Riveria Theater.

There’s subtle poetic beauty behind the fact Hozier launched his U.S tour from the city that gave birth to rhythm & blues. Chicago’s great musical influence reaches far and wide, inspiring a young Irish man named Andrew Hozier Byrne to create songs of his very own. His music style deeply resonates with this city’s vibe, which Chicagoans definitely appreciate. The completely sold out concert at the Riviera Theater is proof enough of that.

Starting out the night’s festivities was Hudson Taylor; the folk music duo consisting of brothers hailing from Dublin Ireland. They kicked off the night with a very energetic and spunky performance, hyping up the crowd with their rowdy Irish stomp & clap folk anthems. I felt inspired in the moment to take a few shots of Jameson to join in on the fun! (I won’t dance without a little alcohol in my system, so I assure you the whiskey was necessary) I thought Hudson Taylor was an ideal pairing with Hozier for this tour, they add a dose of rambunctious fun loving spirit to the act, succeeding in loosening up the audience for the main performance we’ve all been patiently waiting for.

Its been four years since Hozier released his debut album that swept us off our feet. We’ve all been wondering what his next move would be after a long creative hiatus to craft new music. I can honestly say after witnessing him perform songs off his latest EP ‘Nina Cried Power’ our patience has paid off.

Successfully infusing Irish folk with soulful blues undertones, the songs created such a peaceful and uniting atmosphere that completely calmed my spirit. Sometimes I can feel a little anxious photographing a concert, the fast paced nature of this work constantly keeps you on your toes! All of those jitters melted away after being exposed to the soothing melodies combined with a powerful sense of unity with my fellow music lovers in the audience. It felt like home.

That peaceful feeling was briefly rattled by a medical emergency in the midst of Hozier’s performance of ‘Shrike’. He handled the situation with great professionalism and empathy, halting the show and reassuring the crowd while venue security attended to our fallen comrade. The concert was back on track shortly afterwards, completely restarting the song that was interrupted earlier so we could experience the new EP song from start to finish.

Old favorites were featured on the setlist as well, including Hozier’s 2014 hit breakthrough single ‘Take me to Church’. We all happily sang along to this memorable classic. After giving us a good dose of nostalgia he took a bow, thanking his Chicago brothers & sisters before exiting the stage.
We all knew an encore was coming yet we all chanted loudly for one anyway, it’s a vital part of the concert experience! Hozier and his band mates made their way back to the stage, performing a few more songs to tide us over until the next time they’ll blow through the windy city. Ending the night with the emotional
fan favorite ‘Work Song’

The show was a triumphant return to the American concert scene. I will be keeping a watchful eye on this new tour and so should you. There’s a rumored full length album due for a 2019 release, so expect a few previews of new material to be performed during these shows. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.

Austen Maddox

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Photos © 2018 by: Austen Maddox


Hudson Taylor