Antony & The Johnsons
The London Symphony Orchestra aid the angelic giant in creating a vision of beauty and wonderment. London (October 31)More on Antony & The Johnsons
Three years since Hegarty’s Mercury Prize win for ‘I Am A Bird Now’ and the entrance is typically him: he arrives in darkness. He sings in darkness. He exits in darkness. There’s no need for ornamental greetings, no call for spotlights. His angelic singing voice is his only coy embrace, and as he showcases new composition ‘Christina’s Farm’ against the mesmerising backdrop of the London Symphony Orchestra, performing with him on two successive nights at London’s Barbican Centre, the coquettish geisha slowly unveils himself like omniscient Greek god Apollo at an Alice In Wonderland tea party.
Showcasing tracks from latest EP ‘Another World’ and future release ‘The Crying Light’, everything Hegarty touches metamorphoses into an apocalyptic swansong as he flutters his graceful arms under his toga (yes, a toga. Frankly, we wouldn’t expect anything less), like the lost ballerina he was born to be. Hell, he even lends his lamenting hand to Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy In Love’, transforming her booty call into his own do-or-die plea for acceptance.
As you might expect from a flamboyant transgender with a penchant for operatics in a Greek toga, the suffocating robes of sexual ambiguity are always there. “Are you a boy or a girl?” he incants over and over during ‘I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy’, before launching into ‘I Am A Bird Now’ classic ‘For Today I Am A Bouy’. Call him what you will (if you must): boy/man/woman/one-legged tightrope-walker/who the hell cares? Today he is Antony Hegarty: a heart-stealing, heart-breaking diva all of his own.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday