By: Brittany Adams
On June 17th Dawes warmed up the anxious, packed crowd at the Uptown Amphitheater in Charlotte, North Carolina. A few people bobbed their heads to their mostly overlooked opening. The concert-goers filling the slew of chairs and strip of grass passing as a lawn section were focused solely on seeing the bearded, crooning Irishman for whom we all had gathered.
In the interim, we got to know the people waiting near us, namely a chatty, single girl and a bohemian couple with his-and-hers dreadlocks. All three were drinking liberally, the former sipping large Bud Lights and the latter downing a seemingly bottomless wine carafe.
As Hozier ascended the stage to play “Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene,” my section-mates rose and swayed with their respective glasses in hand. Hozier’s voice, as clear and crisp as it is on his album, rang out, cutting through the haze of alcohol. He immediately commanded attention in a steady, non-showman way. The crowd soaked in every word as he sang, “feeling more human and hooked on her flesh/I lay my heart down with the rest at her feet.”
Prior to starting “To be Alone,” Hozier encouraged the crowd to mimic his rhythmic ooo’s, but all we managed to emit was a failed, tone-deaf warbling. Being a good sport, however, he continued on. Fortunately for everyone present, his vocals drowned out our attempt to join him in yell-singing the chorus.
The boozy, frenetic energy of the crowd was tempered when he brought Alana Henderson on stage to join him in singing “In a Week.” Everyone quieted down into a reverent silence, fully embracing how their silky, heartfelt vocals melded with the guitar chords. Hozier had built up a visceral, emotional reaction from the crowd that was no more apparent than with his next song. Upon beginning “Like Real People Do,” the crowd was feeling particularly amorous. He sang “honey just put your sweet lips on my lips/we should just kiss like real people do” and almost on cue, the crowd broke into sporadic smooching. The bohemian couple kissed and on his repetition of those lines, the woman leaned over to kiss the surprisingly receptive Bud Light drinker.
Hozier also didn’t leave the crowd waiting long after he closed his set—or pretended to. He came back on for three encore songs to ensure that his emotionally wrung-out audience left fully satiated.