Posted by Annie Robb
I am normally the type of person who, when told to arrive 2 hours early, would simply wait for the next show in town to see them, and but for my bloggy commitment, I would have done just that. Instead, I set aside my claustrophobic tendencies and sallied forth into the mass of Antony-lovers and chatty Works-goers to soak up as much as I could.
I had to really wedge myself in to get a sliver of a view of Antony’s face as he sang. I had never seen them before, so all I knew was the buzz and the catalog copy. He didn’t look quite like the picture in the TBA catalog (basically Clöe Sevigny in a black wig). He looked soft-skinned, with a pale angelic glow and dark wavy hair messily pinned back from his face. I would guess he’s been called cherubic more than once, but here it is anyway.
I couldn’t quite make out his song until I got fairly close to the stage, and began to feel his sweet, intense vibrato draw me in to his lyrics. His movements and tone were full of grace, and “I fell in Love to a Dead Boy” filled me with melancholic empathy.
I quieted my mind to listen to a few bittersweet songs and particularly liked the brief harmonies. Antony related to the crowd in a lovely, welcoming manner, inviting us to hum backdrops for a couple of tunes. The whole time he sang, though I was drawn in by both the sound and the sentiment, they were constantly at odds with the dull roar of the jostling crowd. For me, I think it would be best to experience Antony and the Johnsons in a more intimate setting, where everyone was there to listen, and could do so seated at a candle lit table with a glass of whisky. I would also buy an album for solo car rides and certain moods, but I felt something lost in the space of the murmuring crowd that night. After they finished, I heard an irate but staunch fan complain, “I could barely hear the cello!” and a girl reply, “there was a cello?” I feel I’ve seen a lovely, hazy bit of something I’d like to pursue. Perhaps another time, I’ll get the full, famed Antony experience.