It's all about the voice of Antony Hegarty.
With it being Mercury Music Award time again, it was apt that Antony & The Johnsons were closing the Indian Summer Festival in Glasgow. A year on from when they dramatically burst onto the UK mainstream, there has been a lot of silence from the camp of late so this week was as good a time as any to reclaim some attention.
The interesting thing was how pleasant and sociable Antony Hegarty seemed to be. Media coverage of the man has painted him as a difficult individual, and even the post-festival Scottish media were claiming he demanded other acts have their set times moved to not clash with him, but as for the show itself, there were many more obnoxious front men on stage.
Aside from media complaints, the most striking aspect about Antony & The Johnsons is the voice that Hegarty possesses. Even in the pitch black (the festival site was poorly lit) and late in the evening, the vocals soared above everything else but never once losing their fragility or cracked presence. To convey such emotion to a full crowd and not seeming to compromise one bit with the quality, showed the talent on show.
Musically, the band were of a competent nature, at times soaring but always playing a secondary role to the lead vocals, even Hegarty's piano playing was merely the backdrop to his superior vocal performance.
Like the reaction to the Mercury Prize win, many people were captivated at the start but the longer the set continued, the more people started to drift away and move off. With the band being the headliner it was clear that people were satisfied in having seen the artist and heard his voice but were able to take the opportunity to leave early, and either head home or carry on the party elsewhere.
Given the talent of the show, this may have been harsh but given the way that the act came to prominence, it's perhaps no surprise for people to view the show as a curiosity rather than a genuine headliner. There was really no other position on the weekend that the band could have fitted in as well, and it's testament to what the Indian Summer Festival promoters were trying to achieve but perhaps their choice of closers needed a bit more life and spark to them.