Singer-songwriter Hozier turned around a set marred by an overly chatty crowd (with a little help from Destiny’s Child) as the sun began to set on the first day of ACL Fest 2018.
With sunglasses on a stubble-covered face curtained by shoulder length hair, the Irish musician, joined by his sharp-dressed seven-member band, played it cool as he took the stage Friday evening. Performing in the penultimate slot of the night is no small honor, but Hozier is well on his way to becoming something of a festival staple. Yet a combo of not enough volume from the speakers and far too much volume from the crowd relegated the first few minutes of Hozier’s set to a pleasant but barely-there soundtrack to a few thousands folks’ conversations.
As the polished but hard-to-hear set powered on, the sweet, soulful “Work Song” transitioned some mouths to singing. The tide turned further with the electric organ-punctuated simmering blues and boogie of “Someone New” and its mid-song jam on the Meters’ “Cissy Strut.” And with that, the crowd’s attention was reclaimed and mouths were closed — until Hozier led them in a sultry sing-along cover of the Destiny’s Child hit “Say My Name.” The crowd fully won over, Hozier closed with “Take Me to Church,” which caused hands to rise and mouths to open wide, singing, “Amen.”
MORE FROM ACL:
Paul McCartney at ACL Fest: A marathon to remember forever
Photos from the first day of ACL Fest
Our top picks for Weekend One of ACL Fest