Column: Singing Under the Stars

By MACKENZEE SIMMS | Staff Writer

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Hozier’s sold out concert at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre in Pelham.

Hozier is an Irish musician, heavily influenced by folk, blues and soul music. He currently has over 57 million monthly listeners on Spotify and his recent single “Too Sweet” topped the Billboard Hot 100, making Hozier the first Irish musician to top the U.S. charts since Sinéad O’Connor in 1990, over thirty years ago.

When I first looked at the Oak Mountain Amphitheater’s summer concert line up, I was surprised to see Hozier included in the ranks of Creed, Hootie and the Blowfish and Train. I found myself wondering how this Irishman had ever even heard of Pelham, Alabama, much less why he was performing here.

But then I went to the concert, and I understood exactly why Hozier came to the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre.

The Oak Mountain Amphitheatre is the largest outdoor music venue in the state of Alabama with a capacity of over 10,000 people. Owned by Live Nation and located next to the Pelham Civic Complex, the amphitheater is nestled amongst towering trees under the open sky.

When you combine the outdoor nature of this incredible venue with the soulful sound of Hozier’s folk music, you unlock an incredible ambiance that I’ve never experienced before. Ten thousand voices joined in a melodic chorus, singing about love, anguish and heartbreak, as their song swirled into the summer sky.

The rainclouds from earlier in the day had abated, giving the concert a reprieve from the downpour, but unfortunately not the classic Alabama humidity.

The heat proved to be a lot for the Irish musician as Hozier commented, “My goodness, Alabama. Someone left the heating on a long, long time ago and they haven’t found it since.”

As the night progressed, storm clouds gathered on the horizon, growing darker by the hour. During  Hozier’s encore performance of “Nina Cried Power”—a song about the power of protest and the legacy of social justice movements—lightning arced across the night sky, illuminating the stage, as if nature itself were responding to the music.

I’ve never seen anything like it. The energy. The crowd. The music. The soul. It was an unforgettable evening under the stars.

The Oak Mountain Amphitheatre is a gem in Shelby County. I will never forget this concert and the friends that gathered to enjoy the evening with me. The music was incredible, truly amplified by the venue. I hope these magical summer nights continue for years to come.

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