Published Nov 01, 2005Shocking many with his unpredicted victory at the Nationwide Mercury Music Prize awards ceremony in the UK this September, Antony Hegarty is now a worldwide topic of conversation and a deservedly well-publicised musician. All of this wonderment and an exceptional album that is sure to be a contender at year's end led to a sold-out Toronto show at the glorious Trinity-St. Paul's United Church. Antony's friends CocoRosie opened the show in what was a much better fit than their stint with Bright Eyes at the Phoenix this past January. The sisters Casady brought their avant-folk-tronic songbook with a beat-boxer/vocal percussionist in tow to a stage filled with an array of instruments, including harp, acoustic guitar and a sequencer that provided the beats Spleen's mouth couldn't. Sierra's plastic mask provided some creepy moments that went with the beautifully eerie mood music, but the most effective motif was the projection screen filled with filmstrips of half-coloured, animated Care Bears, raindrop-stained toilet paper and that mask again working its voodoo. Antony came out decked in a simple black hoody and wig to grace onlookers with his extraordinary voice and grand piano playing, accompanied by his travelling musician companions. At first, the show seemed a little too close to his "music for comas" description, but as soon as he launched into a majestic version of Leonard Cohen's "The Guests," he began to show why his inimitable style has affected so many people. Picture-perfect performances of "You Are My Sister" and "Cripple and the Starfish" were inspiring, as were covers of Nico's "Afraid" and an impromptu version of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," which, along with an apology for swearing in church, also revealed his adorable sense of humour. Ending with an appropriate cover of the Velvet Underground's "Candy Says," the "two-fingered tranny" (his words) proved he is the real deal and worth every ounce of the superstardom that awaits him.