April 12, 2015
By Chrissy Mauck
It was no surprise that Irish singer/songwriter Hozier played his Grammy-nominated single “Take Me to Church” during his phenomenal set at Coachella on Saturday.
But he did have one big surprise up his sleeve. After he got the massive crowd in front of the festival’s main stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to bassist Alex Ryan, Hozier then called out Haim bassist Este Haim to join him for a spirited rendition of “Jungle Love” from the Time.
Haim – the woman, not her sisterly band – not only pitched in on vocals, but she also gamely executed the signature dance Time frontman Morris Day made famous in the movie Purple Rain.
But Hozier’s evening was also filled with gems from his own catalog. Yes, there was a rousing rendition of the aforementioned “Take Me to Church” that had nearly everybody in the audience singing along, but he also showed his R&B, soul and rock roots with an eclectic mix of songs.
Backed by a five-piece band and two backup singers, Hozier treated fans to a little R&B early on, kicking off his show with “Angel of Small Death and the Codeine Scene” and “Jackie and Wilson.”
Hozier adopted a bluegrass vibe with “Like Real People Do,” pulling out a resonator and performing the first part of the song solo before he was joined by his fellow musicians.
He even got the sun-baked audience to noodle in the grassy grounds of the Empire Polo Club with an extra-danceable version of “Someone New,” giving the hit a refreshing breath of life in a live environment.
When it was time for “Take Me to Church,” tons of fans had their smartphones primed to film what is always a spiritual moment. The song reached the heavens during the chorus, which had the help of not only Hozier’s backup vocalists, but also the thousands of people adding to the beautiful song.
It was truly a moment to appreciate.