Photos by Joe Stadele Photography. Published by TWTHS, April 7, 2015
There’s no wonder his fans adore him. Whether he’s sleekly dancing across the stage, throwing a microphone stand over the shoulder, standing on a bass drum, reaching out into the audience or crooning philosophical, Father John Misty [aka Josh Tillman] works and woos an audience. With the release of this year’s I Love You, Honeybear, Tillman is also adding a serious dash of twisted-Misty romance to the mix.
“When can we talk with the face, instead of using all of these strange devices, It seems like you and I could have a crazy conversation.”
The stage itself was a perfect dichotomy; a simple neon heart lit the red stage curtain falling behind the band. Inside the neon heart was a simple message; “No Photography” written cursive. Under harsh red and blue lighting, Misty and his six-piece ensemble band took the stage with the “I Love You, Honeybear.” After a few ballads, Misty and company went electro for “True Affection.”
The electro tones signified a large departure from 2012’s Fear Fun acoustic folk-rock sound. With an expanded band, songs new and old took on the feel of I Love You, Honeybear; ranging from R&B to electro to ballad “rock.” This new life was evident as songs like “Hollywood Forever Cemetery,” “Nancy For Now On” and “Funtimes in Babylon” were more beat driven and serving an electric punch.
Per usual of a FJM performance, there was a lot of shared laughter. “Any Leonard Cohen fans here?” he enquirer, “Not for long” as he kicked into a cover of Cohen’s “I’m Your Man.” When asked what his favorite vegetable was during an impromptu Q&A, Tillman (jokingly) responded with a “vegetable medley.” While there was a heavy dose of humor throughout the show, “Bored In The U.S.A.” received the biggest response as the audience filled the canned laughter of the album recording. During which, he had First Ave staff put a house light on a woman in the balcony, singing the song specifically to her.
King Tuff proved to be an infectious opening act. In fact, much of the audience could have went home happy with just their performance. King Tuff, like Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson, is both the band name and pseudonym of guitarist/vocalist Kyle Thomas. With his buddies, Magic Jake (bass) and Old Gary (drums) the band was unstoppable with a fist pumping set; from the addictively sleazy guitar groove of “Black Moon Spell” to CCR-like “Eyes of the Muse” to KISS-meets-Dylan “Eddie’s Song.” Thomas, whom resembles Bobcat Goldthwait, was as musical as he was entertaining. Between sips from his big gulp and petting the skunk skin decorating his mic stand, Thomas hilariously played into the smoke machine which he manually triggered for each guitar solo. If big gulps, skunk skins, smoke machines and self-deprecating humor are your thing, make sure to check out King Tuff, with Father John Misty the two work as a great pairing. .
Father John Misty will return to Minneapolis May 30th, for an opening slot with Alabama Shakes at the Historic Hall’s Island.
Father John Misty Setlist
I Love You, Honeybear
Only Son of the Ladiesman
When You’re Smiling And Astride Me
The Night Josh Tillman Came To Our Apartment
I’m Writing a Novel
Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2
Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)
Nancy From Now On
Nothing Good Ever Happens At The Goddamn Thirsty Crow
This is Sally Hatchet
The Ideal Husband
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings
Funtimes in Babylon
Now I’m Learning to Love the War
Bored In The U.S.A.
I’m Your Man (Leonard Cohen cover)
Everyman Needs a Companion
King Tuff Setlist
Keep On Movin’
Black Moon Spell
Staircase of Diamonds
Eyes of the Music