The past 12 months have – it's fair to say – been kind to Hozier.
Opening 2014 as a virtual unknown, the Irish singer watched as hit debut album went Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic. Initially a shy performer, Hozier was pushed into the limelight, forcing him to expand both personally and musically.
Playing two sold out shows at London venue Shepherds Bush Empire, it's clear from the off that this has been to his advantage. Epic shows in America have bolstered his live show, with the band utilising several new members.
Opening on Saturday night (January 31st) with a blistering version of 'Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene', the Irish singer is in no mood to hold back. Far more open, confident with the crowd, each smile, each shrug is meet with warm cheers.
Drawing primarily on his debut album, Hozier also throws in a few unanticipated twists and turns. It's a crisp set – an artist with only one album to his name could hardly be expected to do much – but it's also hugely effective.
Occasionally stripping things back – such as on a tender version of 'To Be Alone' or 'Someone New' – there's a huge amount of space in his music.
Returning for a cute three song encore, Hozier even throws in his cover of R&B classic '1 Thing'. It's an odd feeling – the Irish singer is utterly in control of the environment, confident to play with expectations and managing to raise them still further. Watch him soar.