Wexner Center brings Antony and the Johnsons back to Columbus

Antony Hegary Photo: WexArts.org

I stumbled upon Antony and the Johnsons for the first time in 2002 – I knew nothing about them and decided to attend the concert on a whim. I take these "risks" often at the Wexner Center for the Arts . I don’t always know if I will "like" what I see there, but I do know that when I leave I’ll be a little more informed and always more appreciative of the variety of film, music, art and dance that the Wex brings to Columbus.

The show began quietly, when a performer provided the audience with a long opening message given entirely in Morse code. Then a strong but feminine voice filled the room and gently commanded attention. The lights lifted and slowly unveiled the lead singer of the band, the androgynous-looking Antony Hegarty .

Antony wore a pink boa and moved subtly across the stage, allowing me to concentrate on his lyrics of melancholy and longing. In fact, the draw of his unique voice was so powerful that, after a few minutes, I stopped trying to figure out if he was male or female and instead got lost in the rest of the performance.

I left the concert and purchased anything I could find by Antony and the Johnsons. I also knew if they came back to Columbus, I’d be there. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the show coming to our city on Feb. 4 .

Back in 2002, the dimly lit performance space at the Wexner Center was the perfect venue for a minimalist, cabaret-style delivery. But over the past seven years, Antony and the Johnsons albums have seen subtle increases in orchestral sound and growing recognition from the mainstream. So it makes sense that the venue for this visit is the Southern Theatre . Antony’s voice and the organic acoustics of this beautiful theater are sure to complement each other.

Until showtime, here are some additional links worth a look: