Remus Lupin, Danny Zuko, and company turn out to be the best Ireland has to offer

10/1/18 – House of Blues

It was fitting that Irish brother duo Hudson Taylor opened for Ireland’s blues rock darling, Hozier. With slicked hair and theatrical antics, younger brother Alfie was reminiscent of Danny from Grease. His enthusiastic gestures contrasted the more reserved demeanor of Harry, who filled the remaining spaces with harmonies, electric guitar riffs, and a wide-brimmed black hat. The brothers sang of the trials and tribulations of love with a dash of wanderlust and youthful angst—a setlist that spanned releases from 2012 onwards.

Accompanied by four talented musicians playing everything from the mandolin to the harmonica to the cajón drum to the tin whistle, the brothers wove together a blend of contemporary and traditional sounds that made even those of us who have never stepped foot in Ireland long for green fields and pub-lined streets. On “Don’t Know Why,” they revealed the night’s family gathering went beyond brothers; their younger sister Holly was one of the women onstage, contributing beautiful harmonies.

The band ensured a warm send-off when they ended their set with a spirited rendition of “Shipping Up to Boston,” further energized by enthusiastic audience participation.

It wasn’t just his grey sports coat and dark ensemble that evoked serious Remus Lupin vibes as the Hozier strode onstage—his quiet demeanor also resembled the endearingly awkward Defense Against the Dark Arts professor.

Hozier and crew opened with the highly-anticipated “Nina Cried Power,” but the song fell short of chill-inducing without Mavis Staples. It wasn’t just her presence that was missing: the rich vocals of the famed gospel singer were left out completely, and there was a lack of physical representation of people of color within the band.

Hozier transitioned to fan favorites like “Jackie and Wilson” and “From Eden,” which the crowd proudly belted out, before the show took on a more personal tone. He reminisced on past shows (his masked Halloween night performance at Paradise) and shared inspirations for his songs; he introduced “NFWMB” as a “love song for the end of the world,” and explained that “Shrike” is named after a small bird who is “known to decorate its home with its prey—gorgeous and vicious.”

“Cherry Wine” felt even more intimate as the band members exited the stage; we were alone with Hozier, the emotion tangible in his voice as he plucked the strings on his acoustic guitar.

On “Movement,” a new song driven by a thumping bass, which he hinted would appear on an upcoming album, Hozier clutched the mic with both hands and howled: “move me, baby.” Like the Hogwarts’ werewolf professor, Hozier appeared to have finally undergone his transformation; he had shed his reserved mannerisms and warmed up to the crowd.

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