Coming off the release of his latest album “Wasteland Baby!” Irish singer Hozier has rocked concert venues around the country.
On Thursday, Nov. 7, Hozier performed in front of a sold out crowd at the Akron Civic Theatre, his first appearance in the northeast Ohio area since the LaurelLive music festival last June. Hozier is one of the last performances of the year at Akron Civic, before their busy season of holiday performances and festivities begin.
Opening for the night was Australian singer Angie McMahon. McMahon, who released her first album earlier this year, “Salt,” played songs “If you call,” “Pasta,” “And I Am a Woman,” a cover of “Helpless” by Neil Young and her most popular song “Slow Mover.”
Before performing, McMahon took a moment to pay respect to the Indigenous people of the land, a value she carries with her from Australia. This was her first trip to Akron, and she has been able to get her name out there since she has been a part of the “Wasteland, Baby!” tour.
“It has been such a privilege to play in a studio [venue] this beautiful in front of such a great crowd,” McMahon said.
As the night went on, Hozier eventually made his appearance on stage. Opening with “As it was,” he continued the night playing songs such as “Dinner & Diatribes,” “Jackie and Wilson,” “From Eden,” “Nina Cried Power,” a cover of “As” by Stevie Wonder, crowd favorite “Almost (Sweet Music)” and many more.
Hozier performed song both off of his latest and first album. Graphics were displayed behind him on stage for every song, and colorful lights with patterns were projected throughout the theatre. Each song had a different type of light which ultimately matched the mood of the song.
While the lights added to the excitement and atmosphere, Hozier made sure this concert carried an impactful message. “Nina Cried Power” was performed with a video of protests and demonstrations around the world. Hozier referenced the current Hong Kong and Moscow protests, stating the importance of speaking up and creating a positive change in the world.
Hozier announced that he is working on new music and hopes to release it within the next few months. His new music will match the instilled theme of his concerts: protesting and activism. He performed a new song that has not yet been released called “Jack Boot Jump.”
Along with other songs he is hoping to release soon, Hozier hopes “Jack Boot Jump” will act as marching music that encourages people to stand up for what they believe in.
Ending the night and building off the message of activism and protesting, Hozier sang his most well known song “Take me to Church.” This song was performed with the music video playing in the background, which depicts an LGBT couple kissing, and then being attacked by a religious mob.
Although Hozier’s newer music will have an obvious theme of activism, showing the injustices in the world has been based in his art since his career took off.
For the encore, Hozier came on stage to perform songs “Cherrywine” and finally “Work Song.” Though the Akron Civic Theatre is not a typical place for big artists like Hozier to perform — compared to venues like Quicken Loans Arena, and the Wolstein Center in Cleveland — Hozier loved the intimate atmosphere the theatre created.
“I think this venue was a good choice, it really matches the whole Hozier vibe. More artists should come to Akron because the Civic is such a cool place,” attendee Lili Culley said.
Many may not think of Akron as a big music city, but with musicians such as James Ingram, Devo and The Black Keys all from Akron, the city certainly has roots of its own. Hozier even credited Akron artists for boosting his interest to create music.
“There’s a huge amount of musical talent coming out of Akron. I was very encouraged as a teenager hearing music from Akron like Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney [The Black Keys],” Hozier said.
While Hozier could not stay until Sunday morning to take the crowd to church, he brought his uplifting and moving music to the city for a fun night, with a powerful meaning.