In 2006, Antony Hegarty could do just about anything he wanted. The singer-songwriter had won the Mercury Music Prize the previous year for ‘I Am a Bird’, the second album from his baroque pop vehicle Antony and the Johnsons. The record – a harrowing document of Hegarty’s experience growing up as a transgendered person – was an unlikely smash hit, catapulting the New Yorker and his band straight into the mainstream. Emboldened by all this success, Hegarty collaborated with experimental film-maker Charles Atlas on ‘Turning’, a series of daring audio-visual performances across Europe.

This release, in tandem with an accompanying DVD, captures the London leg of the tour at the Barbican in full, featuring tracks from the first three Johnsons albums along with two previously unreleased gems, stripped-down piano ballads ‘Whose are These’ and ‘Tears Tears Tears’. Hegarty is pitch-perfect throughout; his bluesy cadence always front and centre, while the band stay firmly within late night jazz confessional territory. It’s an imperious performance for fans and a perfect primer for newcomers too.


Next Album »