Charisma is a powerful tool if you have it. It’s something you have to be born with, can’t be learnt over the years. The two artists who came to play at Forum Karlín in Prague on August 27th certainly have what it takes to silence a room of a few thousand heads.
Both Irishmen, young, talented, wanting to pass on a message. David Keenan, from Dundalk, opened the proceedings and he seemed like he was born to be on stage. This was his third appearance in the Czech Republic, having played United Islands of Prague and Jablonec nad Nisou not so long ago, supporting Hozier on his European tour was most likely his biggest gig in the country yet. He’s scheduled to play Prague next March, the first solo gig in Czech capital. In Karlín he played mostly new songs from recently released debut album “ A beginner’s guide to bravery“ but his set contained also older songs like “ Lawrence of Arcadia” or “James Dean.” When you listen to his complex poetic lyrics it doesn’t surprise Ireland has such a rich tradition of writers, poets and artist in general. We’ve seen David live quite often recently and it seems to us his songwriting and overall stage presence gets better every time.
The gig was sold out for a long time, it was very hot inside. This was the very first time Hozier ever played in the Czech Republic. The crowd was buzzing with excitement, enjoying every minute and showing the love for the man. When the band finally took the stage it felt like the audience is gonna bring the place down. Then the famous long-haired figure appeared near the mic and the show began. Hozier’s soulful vocal is so effortless and there’s so much emotion in it. A perfect example of the saying that music can heal. He’s certainly not the one who would be telling jokes and stories on stage but there’s something about him that captivates everyone. Even a small gesture is enough to take complete control of the crowd. Not everyone is capable of doing so, there are likes of Nick Cave of Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers who come to mind. The majority of the songs came from Hozier’s latest album Wasteland, baby! Accompanied by the band of multi-instrumentalists (we highlight the violinist who kept smiling throughout the night, trading the violin for a guitar almost as she pleased), the unmistakable gospel-ish sound was created and everyone seemed to be right in the zone. Hozier asked the audience a few times to lend him their "beautiful voices." The crowd wasn't shy to join in and sing along even when they weren't asked directly.
Of course, no gig of this remarkable performer would be complete without a song that started it all - Take Me To Church. As if everyone in the room was waiting for this moment. You only wonder how many of these fans have any idea what this well-known song is really about. It’s quite an open critic of Irish Catholic church.
The exceptional night will forever stay with those who attended. Let’s hope the Irish star comes back soon.