Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Antony and the Johnsons

I saw Antony and the Johnsons last night at the Palace of Fine Arts.  It was so so soooooo good I just have to gush a little. 

If you don't know Antony, he's british-born, NYC based, a recent surprise winner of the Mercury prize, and has a voice that truly defies categorization.  Close your eyes and imagine Nina Simone meets Sigur Ros meets Boy George.  The music is sparsely arranged piano, violin, cello, and electric bass, but really -- it's all about his voice.  He's got an amazing ability to manipulate silence and emotion with his crazy voice.  Not since seeing Sigur Ros in 2001 have I been so blown away by a live performance.

The guy's got a pretty unique sense of showmanship as well.  Half way through he enticed the audience to whistle a certain low-tone in harmony, and then used it as a background for his solo.  He also engaged in a self-deprecating improvised story-song about a couple of crabs on an island and their relationship with a coconut.  Don't ask.  It worked.  To hear him speak a phrase in a normal voice, and then sing that same phrase in his singing voice, is mind-bending. 

Listen and then buy.

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