Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Live review: Antony & the Johnsons. Variety Playhouse, Sun., Feb. 8.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2009 at 5:26 PM

Over the weekend there was a significant amount of clamor in the record stores and in Little 5 Points leading up to Antony and the Johnsons' show at the Variety Playhouse on Sun. Feb. 8th. The $30 price tag seemed to be scaring a few people away, but the new record and this first time visit to Atlanta had definitely piqued local interests. Antony is nothing short of an icon who's songs and presence illicit a strong response. People either love him or hate what he does, and there seems to be no middle ground.

I asked a few people to give us their thoughts on the show.

Tom Cheshire who write for Dry Ink Magazine and fronts local punk elder statesmen the All Night Drug Prowling Wolves writes,

I first heard Antony on a Mojo compilation CD a few years back. I remember loving it instantly. Then I got a mix tape from friend of mine in New York with the song "Fistful of Love" on it and I just lost it. It sounded like Nina Simone hangin' with King Tubby and Ethel Merman, and at some point they had all hit the pipe.

Antony & crew brought it down on Sunday evening. He/she hid behind a piano on the darkened stage with his band behind him. The band consisted of Antony on piano, a cello player, a violinist, a gentleman who switched off from violin to guitar, another person who switched from tenor saxophone to guitar and a bass player standing in the background. They were tight, quiet, tasteful, at some points loud, gorgeous and off the hook.

At one point he said that he always had a crush on and wanted to marry Otis Redding, to which one one guy in the crowd screamed "I'll marry you!" There were times during songs when you could hear a pin drop in the audience. There were other times when the music and the applause were uproarious.

The highlights of the set for me were the classic "Cripple and the Starfish," a cover of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," "You are My Sister," "Epilepsy is Dancing" and a beautiful, beautiful version of "Fistful of Love." It was a wonderful evening. Sweet, sexy, no joke. Thank you Antony.

More thoughts on the show are coming soon.

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