Les Folies Bergères was a first for us. A beautiful old cabaret-style venue, typical of 19th-century Paris. Over the time, it hosted numerous well-known performers such as Charlie Chaplin, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. It says a lot about the vibe and the soul this location holds. We were therefore very thrilled to see Rhodes and Hozier perform in such a place.
Around 8 in the evening, Rhodes got on stage alone, with no back up band, as the previous times we had watched him. His voice carries far inside the venue and captivates every single person in the room. With a sitting configuration, it’s hard to tell if people are truly excited but you could feel how everyone was receptive to the sound coming from the stage. Most of all, being silent was our way of admiring admired this guy’s breathtaking vocal abilities. Even his clumsy mistakes were oddly sweet; the audience actually cheered when he did accidentally unplug his guitar in a momentum.
If you ever heard the studio versions of what Rhodes does, you’d immediately hear the difference in the live rendition of his work, which is so much more captivating and powerful.
Rhodes played some of his many popular songs: Turning Back Around, You & I, Raise Your Love which are featured in his debut full length album ‘Wishes’. The singer also performed the magical Let it All Go (originally featuring singer Birdy). Your Soul, and later Breathe, represented a full display of the young man’s vocal abilities and we believe this is how he managed to win over the few people who were not bewitched already.
Rhodes hasn’t been around for too long, but he always impresses and conquers many people in the large audiences he plays to, while supporting some of the biggest current acts such as Sam Smith and George Ezra. Rhodes embarks on his own headliner this week and only in Paris, it will be the 5th time he plays.
Hozier has been propelled to the forefront of the music stage when his single Take Me To Church started hitting all the main radio stations around Europe, and his fame has kept growing since then.
“Think of [these seats] as a suggestion rather than an obligation”, soon said Hozier. It immediately took effect, when people started standing up one by one, before the next song even started. “Happy” melodies are recurring in the man’s music, and you’d soon find yourself dancing and clapping, which can be sometimes strange, thinking of some of the subjects he’s dealing with.
Sometimes, things get far more intense, for instance as his duet with fellow Irish singer and cellist Alana Henderson, kicked in. The union of their two powerful voices filled the whole room and “imposed” a religious silence, a rarity which somehow fit the story behind those lyrics. In A Week was introduced as a lovesong, although Hozier refers to it with sort of a morbid humour, explaining that it was set in Ireland’s Wicklow Hills (his homeland), that is nearly only famous for its dead bodies… After all, Hozier once told The Irish Times “I found the experience of falling in love or being in love was a death.” and we believe it tells a lot about his songwriting. Somehow, it got people laughing. Probably because the irish singer has his own clumsy way of telling stories and de-dramatise the most tragic subjects, which is probably the main great thing about him. He also has a way of coloring love songs with darker shades, lyrically speaking, but we’ve been able to hear gladly all the lovely melodies and clap to it on that night, from Sedated to From Eden.
The atmosphere kept getting cozier, as everyone got up for Take Me To Church and kept standing, loudly cheering for Hozier to come back for an encore, which consisted of Cherry Wine and Work Song.
Also humble, Hozier wouldn’t leave the stage taking all the credit for himself. He will introduce to the audience the amazing talents he works with everyday, both on stage and “behind the scenes”, before all of them greeted us with eloquence and eventually left the stage. Speaking of which, we would also like to underline the tremendous work done for the stage scenery and the lightening, that added more life and solemnity to each moment.
To sum it all up, we let two great musicians work their magic through our hearts for a few hours and there were just too many feelings involved.
Full photo album available HERE.