Father John Misty at Varsity Theater, 7/15/2012
Photo by Youa Vang
with Father John Misty, France
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
Sunday, July 15, 2012
For many in attendance at the sold-out Varsity Theater, a show by Father John Misty is a religious experience, so to speak -- after all, it was on a Sunday. To be clear, Father John Misty was not the headliner at the Varsity, though Joshua Tillman and company could easily have carried the show themselves.
With a crowd that was mainly there for FJM, the audience was treated to not only stellar music, but also the comedy stylings of J. Tillman. The singer introduced himself by proclaiming that the combination of sleep deprivation -- just one hour of rest -- karaoke, and mushrooms, made the room looked like one big fig newton. The band opened with "Funtimes in Babylon," a soulful piece that included a mandolin-like guitar laying an acoustic bed for Tillman's smooth vocals.
Claiming that he felt like an inferior dancer following opening band France, which included two girl dancers flanking the singer, Joshua assured the crowd that he was going to show them "every ounce of his weird dancing." He sure did. The singer performed sans guitar, posing onstage and dancing in an oddly sexy manner complete with hip thrusts, but it strangely did not seem out of place.
Father John Misty's new album was only recently released, but has quickly captivated a growing audience. Fear Fun is Tillman's venture off into music that he felt he should have been making all along. Many of the songs like "I'm Writing a Novel" and "Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2" have a southern blues quality and integrate stories that are nestled within stories.
The current single "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings" was saved for last, drawing cheers from the crowd with the first beat from the drums. With only one album to draw from, the set was relatively short, but not one person in the quickly emptying room after FJM's set would argue that it wasn't worth it.
Critic's bias: With all the buzz surrounding the band, it was a treat to see them live up to their hype.
The crowd: The ultimate hipsters: people who knew about Father John Misty before he was Father John Misty.
Random notebook dump: I can't have been the only person that was thinking "What the fuck?" during opener's France's set. The singer was dressed in a religious-like robe and had two backup dancers that brought to mind SNL's Sprockets. I kept waiting for them to have a bloodletting/drinking ritual onstage.
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