With his long dark hair tied in a bun and a casual nature about him, Hozier took to the stage of Auckland's Vector arena last night. Backed by a full band, including a cellist and two backing singers, along with the rest of his band, Hozier let loose on his electric guitar, his smooth voice crooning the lyrics to Like Real People Do and Angel Of Small Death and The Codeine Scene.

With seven people singing on stage at times, the crowd got swept away in harmonies - Hozier, aka Andrew Hozier-Byrne, busting out track after track of his 2014 self-titled album.

The sold-out audience's delighted screams could be heard every time the Irish singer spoke - his strong accent send thrills through the crowd.

Performing in New Zealand for the first time, Hozier stomped his foot into the carpet that lined the stage as he ripped into his guitar, getting the crowd's hands in the air for the upbeat rock pop of Jackie and Wilson. During From Eden, the song morphed into upbeat mariachi, before making way for a charming cello solo.


Fans couldn't help but sing along and sway to one of Hozier's better-known songs Someone New. Glowing light bulbs casting a warm tone to the stage. The layers of sounds and singing added some magic to the music. His hit Take Me To Church was another crowd favourite, as people head-banged to the intense and haunting song.

The musician made his cover of Blackbird by The Beatles entirely his own, bringing his own life and energy into the song. It was a beautiful rendition. While his version of pop star Ariana Grande's One Less Problem was full of fun - Hozier should be the only person allowed to perform that song ever again because his interpretation was the best.

The catchy tunes kept pumping for Hozier's entire set. It Will Come Back brought in a grittier, moodier vibe - Hozier throwing power behind his voice throughout the song. A call and return with the crowd kicked off the rock heavy To Be Alone, drums hitting slowly in time with a flashing strobe light.

Colourful, swirling lighting gave the show the right atmosphere without becoming a distraction and it was hard not to stay completely focused on Hozier's every move as he impressively picked and bended his guitar.

Fellow Irish singer Karen Crowley joined Hozier on stage for an enchanting duet In A Week. Both from hailing from Wicklow, Ireland, Hozier explained the morbid backstory behind the beautiful sounding song.

Based on Wicklow Hills - a stretch of lovely rolling hills and streams - only really talked about when "a body has been found". Yet Hozier swears In A Week is a love song. Perhaps a gruesome love song with lyrics like "We'll lay here for years or for hours / Thrown here or found, to freeze or to thaw / So long, we'd become the flowers / Two corpses we were, two corpses I saw."

For his encore, Hozier returned to perform Cherry Wine on an acoustic guitar, wearing the New Zealand flag across his shoulders. He then congratulated the All Blacks on their Rugby World Cup win - which is definitely one way to get a crowd full of Kiwis to cheer - before Work Song brought a perfect ending to Hozier's whirlwind romance with Auckland.

Who: Hozier
When: Thursday, November 6
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland


- nzherald.co.nz