Josh Tillman, better known as his cool, charismatic, sarcastic and relentlessly sexy alter-ego Father John Misty is currently embarking on his tour for his second album I Love You, Honeybear. Released in February of this year, it merges both the beautiful and brutal honesty of love in all its forms. It touches on the adoration of your loved one when by yourself with them, to the self-loathing and paranoia one may develop in relation to that and every funny minutiae of detail in between. It's lovely, melodramatic, truthful, heartfelt, meta and bloody hilarious. That's the condensed review of the album and description of its creator, so you can imagine how good it and he is. If you haven't listened to it yet make sure you rectify that immediately.
Father John Misty's music has the capacity to draw in an incredibly diverse crowd. His soaring and crooning vocals alongside the bands beautiful composition juxtaposed with his ridiculous, LasVegas-esque caricature and witticisms draws in those who take him more seriously than he would ever care anyone to, those who find him hilarious, couples who he resonates with both young and old, and fundamentally, people who either want to sleep with him or learn how to become him (mostly they desire both). That aside, everyone is there simply because this man, Father John Misty, Josh Tillman or otherwise, knows how to perform.
He was welcomed warmly to the stage as he broke into the title track I Love You, Honeybear while he spread across a stage which seemed frustratingly too small for him. Lifting the mic stand above and around his neck and dropping down to his knees and gyrating into the air there was little to do but be absolutely mesmerised by his captivating stage presence from the moment he sauntered into view. After a couple of songs he briefly talks about spending the day in Sheffield and describing it as "absolutely lovely" (as a first time visitor myself, that is the most apt description of the city), interestingly, it seemed as he let his guard down a little bit and somehow sprung more into his eccentricity by the time he performed When You're Smiling and Astride Me and instantly merging it with a Fear Fun favourite I'm Writing a Novel.
What makes him so entrancing as a performer is aside from the frustratingly brilliant nonchalance he has on stage while sounding record-pitch perfect (which is enough to fill fellow musicians green with envy) is undeniably his sense of humour. Gesturing masturbation and imitating track laughter during the meta-ballad of inertia in Bored in the USA, and finishing it with taking a fans phone and singing into it completely indifferent to the audience for the final verse is camp and playful. As well as that, being able to incorporate an unexpectedly intense and phenomenal drum solo during the mellow, acoustic led Holy Shit before swanning back to the mic and belting the final verse left half the audience awestruck and the other half in uproarious laughter at the absurdly placed but incredible 45 second solo which totally jarred the track.
He ended the main bulk of his set with the relentless and depraved The Ideal Husband in which he screamed a seemingly believable autobiographical list of wrongdoings of his life with the crowd shouting along to his debauchery. For his encore, he returned with the emotionally draining I Went to the Store One Day, in which he depicts the first encounter he had with his now wife. And ended his set with class with the wonderful Everyman Needs a Companion, a track dedicated to fraternal friendship through the lens of biblical characters.
What made this show feel particularly special was a moment half way through the gig. He took a moment to thank the crowd for not screaming unintelligibly at him in between songs, allowing him to gather his thoughts and continue with the performance. That says it all in my opinion, Father John Misty lives to perform and revels in it. Simply outstanding.
Setlist: I Love You, Honeybear
Only Son of the Ladiesman
When You're Smiling and Astride Me
The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt.
I'm Writing a Novel
Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)
Nancy From Now On
Bored in the USA
Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow
This is Sally Hatchet
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
Funtimes in Babylon
The Ideal Husband
I Went to the Store One Day
Everyman Needs a Companion
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