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Antony and the Johnsons, Vicar St., Dublin, November 25th

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This was my first time seeing Antony with the Johnsons, I had seen him once before when he was in Lou Reed’s live band and the impression I got from him was that he seemed uncomfortable on stage. This time I got the exact opposite impression.  Antony looked like he was made to be under the spotlight. Not many artists get away with telling a rambling story for about five minutes during a show, however Antony had a charm and a wit that made the crowd hang on his every word

Currituck Co., better known as Antony’s guitarist Kevin Barker, warmed up the crowd with a few songs from the same musical terrain as Nick Drake or Vetiver. His music holds up a lot better live then on his album which was a bit lukewarm. At times his guitar playing sounded very eastern and exotic. Surprisingly the weakest part of his set was the duet with Antony, both artists didn’t seem that bothered about the song.

Antony and the Johnsons were stunning. Predictably the set drew mainly from material from his lauded album I am a Bird Now. Starting off with “My Lady Story,” Antony captured the hearts of the audience. It seemed most of them seemed to only know the latest album as every old song seemed to pleasantly surprise everyone. A rearranged “Cripple and the Starfish” was to follow.  Instead of starting with violin, twin acoustic guitars played the melody bringing new life and a little more light into the song. Having only heard Moondog’s music for the first time the day before it was a nice surprise to hear Antony playing “All is Loneliness.” Less exciting was his cover of Leonard Cohen's “The Guests” which didn’t seem to go anywhere.

Other highlights from the evening were “I Fell in Love with a Dead Boy” and “Fistful of Love,” with Julia Kent filling in for Lou Reed’s spoken intro. Continuing the Lou Reed theme Antony finished with a mostly beautiful cover of “Candy Says,” the song I heard him sing with Lou Reed that made me want to find out more about Antony. I say it was mostly beautiful because someone near the front let out an almighty belch during the song that was so loud it caused Antony to lose his place and congratulate the individual on having the gall to do that. It was a bizarre end to a very enjoyable evening.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 November 2005 01:51  


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