HOZIER + JAMES BAY @ IMMANUEL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Photos and words by Cortney Armitage
His poetic and emotional lyrics lingered, then slowly dissipated in the fog of the cathedral sanctuary. Walking down the center aisle with his acoustic guitar sans mic, Hozier gave all in attendance a spiritual experience. Taking advantage of the intimate setting, he asked the people on the second level, “I want to try something… Can you hear me up there?” They roared back a unanimous affirmation and Hozier, as if beginning a sermon, started strumming a blues riff of Skip James. As he began to sing the lyrics of “Illinois Blues,” his divine and humbling voice cut through the hot thick atmosphere. Highlights of his incredible set were heard in “Cherry Wine” and “Work Song,” tracks off his self-titled debut album, but ultimately he made us know we should’ve worshiped him sooner as he finished his set with his powerful and inspired song “Take Me to Church.” Hozier will be back on February 6, 2015 at the Fonda Theatre.
The utterly charming and dynamic James Bay, from Hitchin, UK, left a little bit of his heart at the alter when he started the night. His good looks and unexpected rich voice, caught eyes and made many ears perk up, winning new fans over as he belted out his set. Chill inspiring moments were found in his songs “If You Ever Want To Be In Love” and “Hold Back the River.”