Tag Archives: Fear Fun

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Father John Misty Plays a Pair of Weekend Solo Shows

October 16th, 2013

Chances are that prior to last year you either knew of Joshua Tillman as the drummer for Fleet Foxes or as the solo artist J. Tillman. But things blew up for him in 2012 with the release of the Jonathan Wilson–produced Fear Fun (stream it below) under the name Father John Misty. Playing a freak folk smoothed out with a little bit of California sunshine—no doubt a direct result of leaving Seattle for L.A.’s Laurel Canyon (“Look out, Hollywood, here I come,” he sings in “Funtimes in Babylon”)—Tillman enjoyed the best reviews of his career, invoking heady comparisons to Gram Parsons and Harry Nilsson, in making the kind of music the Consequence of Sound says provides “an aural parallel to a drug and whiskey afterglow.” Since debuting at Mercury Lounge last May, Father John Misty (above, performing “Hollywood Forever Cemetery” for Minnesota Public Radio) has steadily grown in popularity. And now he’s back in town for two solo shows, bringing his hip-shaking, pelvic-thrusting good times to Town Hall on Friday night and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night.

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Father John Misty Delivers the Fun

January 15th, 2013

Father John Misty – Webster Hall – January 14, 2013


You may know of him as J. Tillman or as the drummer of Fleet Foxes, but today he goes by the more papal moniker Father John Misty. And while Father John Misty may not have any formal ties to the Catholic Church, he came to Webster Hall on a dreary Monday night in the dead of winter ready to preach the fine virtues of some damn fine folksy blues. In the months he’s been on tour since the release of his debut Father John Misty album, Fear Fun, last April (he’s recorded several other solo albums as J. Tillman), his songs have taken on a life beyond their recorded versions. “I’m Writing a Novel” has developed into a knee-slapping romper with that classic-rock drive behind it. His pleas of “Jesus Christ, girl!” alongside the soul-melting guitar riffs at the start of “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” had enough power behind them to bring observers to their knees.

Tillman makes it no secret that performing all this was great fun. His tall, lanky body, tangled-marionette dance moves and too-hot-for–Ed Sullivan hip gyrations make for a show all on their own. Such over-the-top stage moves make for the perfect complement to his playful songwriting. It’s also a hell of a lot easier to have fun in a crowd when the person singing onstage is unabashedly dancing his ass off. Having played through most of Fear Fun, Father John Misty went with a cover of Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” as his encore. And now that he’s played a few shows in New York City, it might take a new album to bring back Father John Misty again. But maybe by then we’ll be calling him a saint. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

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Father John Misty Sells Out

October 25th, 2012

Father John Misty – The Bowery Ballroom – October 24, 2012


Known to many as the former Fleet Foxes drummer, Josh Tillman has successfully launched a solo career as Father John Misty. In an interview this spring on KCRW, he revealed the moniker was a red herring for his obvious creative shift. “The name was really just something that I could just live with because it doesn’t have any meaning. Meaning doesn’t age very well. Absurdity does in my mind, so I just wanted to go with something malleable and absurd and a name that could be manipulated,” he explained. And last night at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom, Tillman, certainly an eccentric, did not disappoint.

Tillman opened the evening with a diatribe about crowds often yelling, “Fire,” but at concerts it tends to be “Bruce Springsteen.” An odd tangent coming off playing Petty Fest at Webster Hall earlier in the evening. Tillman’s lithe frame was quickly on display as his gesticulations commanded the beginning of “Funtimes in Babylon,” with his head thrown back against the blue and purple lights. Between “Only Son of the Ladies’ Man” and “Nancy from Now On,” he ordered the disco ball to be turned on. And Tillman continued his unique dancing, including sequences of Freddie Mercury–like shimmying to the honky-tonk of “I’m Writing a Novel” and rag-doll flaying to “This Is Sally Hatchet.”

“If I wanna run this show off the rails, it’s my job,” exclaimed Tillman. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. With the close of the show, the audience was completely engulfed in Tillman’s stage presence, joining along in dance and song for “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings.” Having already covered the bulk of his recent release, Fear Fun, the encore was a duo of covers: Bing Crosby’s “Nevertheless (I’m in Love with You)” and Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again.” Needless to say, the folks lucky enough to enjoy the show were not disappointed. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(Father John Misty plays Webster Hall on 1/14.)