WORDS WILL MAXWELL / IMAGES JOE JONES
Opening up tonight’s show is Victoria Canal. From the delicate opener “Pity Season” a cover of Phoebe Bridgers‘ “Motion Sickness” to the tear-jerking tribute to her father “Own Me” she not only endears herself to the already sizable crowd that has arrived early with her performance but with her relatable, humorous banter in-between each song.
Next up are The Teskey Brothers. Now, I’m not accusing them of controlling the weather, but I find it highly suspicious that the rain started the moment they walked on stage, and it was at its heaviest as they sang “Rain”! “That’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened to us” main vocalist Josh Teskey remarks. I guess if you could guarantee a place for this to happen, Manchester would be a front-runner!
The Australian blues rock brothers and their extremely talented backing band treat us to a wonderful set comprising of material from their Run Home Slow and The Winding Way albums. The raw, soulful vocals of Josh Teskey wow the crowd throughout.
A striking acapella version of “Hold Me” allows Sam Teskey to show off his vocal talents too, and the rapturous applause they receive when leaving the stage is well deserved.
Screams from the predominantly female audience greet Hozier’s arrival on stage. From the high-pitched opener “Eat Your Young”, the sheer catchiness of “Jackie and Wilson” to the rousing “From Eden” – it’s a stunning start that showcases his versatility as a vocalist.
Francesca is a tantalising glimpse at the upcoming third album Unreal Unearth and if this is anything to go by we’re in for a treat.
For most of the evening he is backed by a group of exceptionally talented musicians and singers, but when “Cherry Wine” is performed solo – even this sizeable, 8000-capacity outdoor venue feels incredibly intimate.
“Like Real People Do” sees Victoria Canal return to the stage to perform a gorgeous duet. A touching moment that’s loved by the crowd.
As the night progresses with the likes of “Would That I”, “Someone New” and “Movement”, you have to take a step back and just appreciate how awe-inspiringly good his voice is and what a pleasure it is to be here to witness it in person.
The undeniable highlight is “Take Me to Church”, the huge anthem that propelled Hozier to stardom. Abandoning guitar duties, he roams the stage and gets closer to the crowd, who repay him with a sing-a-long that could probably be heard across most of the city.
Briefly leaving the stage before returning for an encore, he introduces by name not only his backing band but everyone involved in the show, from the sound engineer to the stage manager and everyone in between. This lasts 5 minutes or so, and it’s clear how highly he thinks of everyone involved and how humble he is that he wants them to share the limelight.
The crowd sway their arms and light up the night sky with their mobile phone lights during “Unknown/Nth” before the hauntingly beautiful “Work Song” brings the night to an emotional close.
Hozier captivated us from start to finish, a phenomenal talent whose popularity will only continue to rise.
1/ EAT YOUR YOUNG
2/ JACKIE AND WILSON
3/ FROM EDEN
4/ TO BE ALONE
5/ DINNER AND DIATRIBES
7/ CHERRY WINE
8/ LIKE REAL PEOPLE DO
9/ WOULD THAT I
11/ SOMEONE NEW
12/ ANGEL OF SMALL DEATH
14/ TAKE ME TO CHURCH
16/ WORK SONG
FOLLOW THE TESKEY BROTHERS
FOLLOW VICTORIA CANAL
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.