Almost a decade ago to the month of November, singer-songwriter Hozier released his debut four-song EP. Containing the breakout song “Take Me To Church,” the EP heralded an immediate arrival of one of pop music’s most literary new singer-songwriters and magnetic performers. Fans began speaking of being “taken to Church” not only by the anthemic song, but Hozier’s intense, cathartic performances.

This charisma has not cooled since Hozier’s debut a decade ago. His ability to connect has only grown through the years, and last night, Hozier’s very sold out show at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia was evidence. At the Mann, he took his fans to mega Church with a majestic, deeply moving, near-two-hour show.

Hozier | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Combining standout songs like “Francesca,” “Damage Gets Done,” and “First Light” from Hozier’s recent album Unreal Unearth, and catalogue classics like “Jackie and Wilson,” “Cherry Wine,” “From Eden,” the aforementioned “Church,” and “Nina Cried Power,” the 21-song set’s power was driven not just by the amazing songcraft and Hozier’s masterful vocals, but by the performance of his band.

With nine members including Hozier in total, each person in the band played their part marvelously, with the kind of joy and high energy of live performance that gives your favorite songs the energy they need to make a connection, and take it beyond the album version. Singers/instrumentalists Melissa McMillan and Kristen Rogers, cellist Larissa Maestro, and keyboardist/vocals Joy Morales shined throughout the show, constantly complementing and playing off of the sharp and soulful playing of each other including Kellen Wenrich on violin, guitar and vocals; keyboardist Ryan Connors and long-time collaborators drummer Rory Doyle bassist/multi-instrumentalist Alex Ryan.

Hozier | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

At the heart and soul of it all though was Hozier, who cast a tall gaze over the Mann, and with this emotional and intense connection with the crowd, his level of artistry is remarkable. Those fans who were lucky enough to see Hozier in May of this year at his pop-up underplay got a good glimpse of the potential power of his live show at World Cafe Live. At the Mann, Hozier brought his uplifting energy, masterful songs and incredible band to light up the crowd at a bigger scale, and the power was inspiring.

The Mann Center
  • De Selby (Part 1)
  • De Selby (Part 2)
  • Jackie and Wilson
  • From Eden
  • Francesca
  • To Be Alone
  • Dinner and Diatribes
  • Movement
  • Cherry Wine
  • To Someone From A Warm Climate (Uiscefhuaraithe)
  • Like Real People Do
  • Abstract (Psychopomp)
  • Would That I
  • Damge Gets Done
  • Almost (Sweet Music)
  • Eat Your Young
  • First Light
  • Take Me To Church
  • Nina Cried Power
  • Unknown/Nth
  • Work Song (with Madison Cunningham)