Father John Misty at First Avenue, 5/21/13
|Photo by Youa Vang|
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Father John Misty aka Josh Tillman returned to Minneapolis for the fourth time within a year last night. The singer, who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday and the one-year anniversary of his debut album [as Father John Misty] Fear Fun, seems to love this city. Mr. Misty toured non-stop since last year, sitting mostly on same twelve songs that make up Fear Fun.
So what can you get out of a FJM show that you don't get sitting in your room with the lights down and candles burning? All of the little nuances: humor that is so sarcastic it borders on insulting for the uninitiated, his captivating voice, and, most importantly, his dancing. From the screams of the women in the crowd, you would have thought you were at a male strip club when Tillman brought out his sexy gyrations.
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With his cup of whiskey -- or maybe it was water -- Tillman in his usual white button down shirt and black pants took his place onstage, took a sip, and spit it out into the air. Grabbing his mic, he remarked, "I just blew our special effects budget for the evening." Amidst his elaborate stage set of band members and large stuffed white tiger, his mural loomed large and colorful behind Tillman. For those that were attentive enough, it was a treat to find hidden pictures and meanings within the mural, the best being a naked picture of him at the top looking at the audience.
Wasting no time, Josh launched into "Funtimes in Babylon" and belted out the line "Look out, Hollywood, here I come" less like a threat and more as a promise. Showing his love for the Minnesota/Prince/First Ave., he name-dropped Lake Minnetonka during "Only Son of a Ladiesman," a favorite song of his to perform -- one he says he embodies every night. Grabbing his acoustic guitar for "I'm Writing a Novel," the singer noticed the crowd with their cameras, and said, "Let's carry onward and upward...to a sea of deteriorating MP3s."
|Photo by Youa Vang|
Perhaps because he's been playing the same album live for a while, the band changed up "Well, You Can Do It Without Me," making it much more bluesy and soulful. Tillman played into the impassioned character, and kept everyone waiting by pausing to tuck in his shirt before belting out the final line "But you can do it without me." Once the final note was played, he declared, "Nailed it," and mimed wiping his hands, then fake crying, before saying, "Onward and upward, friends." He went on to make the audience laugh some more with his most spot on song "Now I'm Learning to Love the War," a misnomer not about war, but about the struggle of putting out an album. During the piece, Tillman ponders all of the things that go into making an album, even ad-libbing, "Shit" into the song, as if he didn't realize it until was singing the words how much work it takes to be a musician.