Tag Archives: Fleet Foxes


Father John Misty Delivers at Rough Trade NYC

February 13th, 2015

Father John Misty – Rough Trade NYC – February 12, 2015

Father John Misty – Rough Trade NYC – February 12, 2015
Because his larger-than-life persona isn’t well suited for paraphrasing, it seems the only way to write about Father John Misty is in long form. And while it might be impossible, here’s an attempt: Father John Misty, real name Joshua Tillman, was raised in a strict ultra-Christian household in Maryland, left it behind for Seattle, worked menial jobs, wrote songs as J. Tillman, started drumming for Fleet Foxes, went to California and ate some mushrooms, had a revelation, moved to L.A., traded the name J. Tillman for Father John Misty, wrote a killer album, married a photographer who has a sweet Tumblr, bought a house in New Orleans, won over David Letterman, wrote another killer album, trolled the Internet with an intentionally shit-quality stream of it via a make-believe streaming service. And as tempting as it is to go into further detail about any of these things, we need to save some real estate here to talk about his performance last night at Rough Trade NYC.

Father John Misty knows how to perform. He’s the craftsman of tunes grandiose in theme, scope and sound, and it takes a grand performer to own them onstage. Father John Misty and company came out with musical guns blazing, performing “I Love You, Honeybear,” blowing through every single page in the Key to Great Rock Performances playbook, all within the first song: Standing on top of the bass drum, holding the microphone stand over his head, walking out into the audience, snaking his way back up onstage, twirling once around the microphone stand. It’s worth noting that Tillman’s a lanky six feet, which adds drama to his every move. Standing on the bass drum, he was eye level with the balcony, an imposing presence dominating the small venue.

“We have gathered here today in this place of commerce,” said Father John Misty. His performance hit just about every song he’s recorded, each featuring its own theatrics. For the bridge of “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow,” Tillman threw back his head like his own song had shot him, falling to his knees and hitting the floor. “Funtimes in Babylon” came with a gorgeous tinge of country, peppered with a meandering slide guitar. At some point, stage banter became a free-flowing Q&A session before Father John Misty walked out into the audience, hugging people one at a time during the set-ending “Holy Shit.” For the encore, the audience covered the canned laughter at the “punch lines” of “Bored in the U.S.A.” And Tillman sang, “I never liked the name Joshua, I got tired of J,” on the night’s final song, “Everyman Needs a Companion.” But as it turns out, no one is tiring of Father John Misty. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


Australian Psych-Pop Quartet Plays Mercury Lounge Tonight

August 5th, 2013

They all grew up in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. And like so many before them, Alister Wright (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Kelshaw (bass and vocals), Heide Lenffer (keys and vocals) and Ulrich Lenffer (drums) came together to compete in a Battle of the Bands in school. But unlike scores of others, this psych-pop quartet stuck together and became the band Cloud Control, playing with the likes of the Arcade Fire, Weezer and Vampire Weekend, and releasing a much-heralded debut album, Bliss Release—which Pitchfork noted it for its “Tame Impala-meets-Fleet Foxes vibe”—that generated a fair amount of acclaim and won Cloud Control (above, performing “This Is What I Said” on MoshCam) the prestigious Australian Music Prize in 2011. Their much-anticipated follow-up full-length, Dream Cave, arrives next month, but there’s a good chance you can hear some of the new tunes tonight at Mercury Lounge.


Catch Father John Misty Tomorrow Night at Terminal 5

July 23rd, 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 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 “Nancy from Now On” on Conan, and, below, covering the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize” for the A.V. Club) has played a bigger venue upon each subsequent New York City visit: Music Hall of Williamsburg and The Bowery Ballroom and then Webster Hall. And now he’s back in town, bringing his hip-shaking, pelvic-thrusting good time to Terminal 5 tomorrow night.


The Cave Singers Bring New Tunes to Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 4th, 2013

When his previous band, Pretty Girls Make Graves, called it quits in 2007, guitarist Derek Fudesco teamed up with former Cobra High drummer Marty Lund and former Hint Hint singer Pete Quirk to start a new one, the Cave Singers, to make rock music with a folk bent (think: Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie). The Seattle three-piece had enough material for their first album, Invitation Songs, within months of forming. A second disc, Welcome Joy, followed two years later, and after the third, the-more-electric-than-acoustic No Witch, was released in 2011, the trio became a quartet with the addition of Fleet Foxes multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson on bass. Their first album as a quartet, Naomi (stream it below)—perhaps heavier on the rock than the folk—came out a month ago, and the Cave Singers (above, doing “Swim Club” for Seattle’s KEXP FM) are currently touring the East Coast. See their high-energy live show on Saturday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


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


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.)


Don’t Miss Dry the River Tomorrow Night at The Bowery Ballroom

September 19th, 2012

Peter Liddle (guitar and vocals) originally started Dry the River as a solo project. But wanting a bigger sound, he invited Will Harvey (violin and keys), Scott Miller (bass and vocals), Matt Taylor (guitar and vocals) and Jon Warren (drums and percussion) to join him in making what he calls “folkie gospel music played by a post-punk band.” Appearances at Glastonbury and SXSW last year earned Dry the River (above, doing “Bible Belt” on a boat in an Amsterdam canal for Face Culture) comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons. And following the release of their debut LP, Shallow Bed, this past spring, the English five-piece has hit the road. See them, alongside Houndmouth and Yellowbirds, tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.


Yeasayer Close Out Tour in Central Park

September 13th, 2012

Yeasayer – Rumsey Playfield – September 12, 2012

Central Park! Yeasayer! Beautiful September weather! Babies! Put all these things together (OK, well, except for the babies) and you’ve got the essential ingredients for a perfect show to usher out the summer outdoor-concert season. Wednesday night was the final stop of Yeasayer’s tour promoting the release of their latest album, Fragrant World . Their tour is being cut short thanks to the birth of Yeasayer mult-instrumentalist Anand Wilder’s new baby daughter, who was born on Saturday. The guys in the band welcomed the good news like the baby was all of theirs. Chris Keating joked several times throughout the set that they were returning to their hometown, New York City, to raise the newborn as a group.

When it comes to all the bands that have come out of the mid-aughts, Yeasayser’s a bit of an outlier. In many ways, their songs sound like a grab-bag collection of familiar sounds that have come into vogue as of late. Tunes both new and old dabble in the psychedelic, hypnotic grooves from the school of Animal Collective. Songs like their latest single, “Henrietta,” seamlessly morph from MGMT-style electro dance grooves to M83-style synth sentimentalism. With three of the four band members swapping vocal responsibilities, sometimes they all sang together like in the breakout from their debut, “2080,” building up an epic wall of harmonies reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes.

Individually these things aren’t necessarily unique, but throw them all together and you’ve got one of the most original and strangest sounding bands to emerge from the new millennium’s indie renaissance. And then of course there is “Ambling Alp,” the show ender and clear crowd favorite. Sung in unison, the lyrics from the song felt like some perfect and timely advice for someone new to this world. What an appropriate way to conclude a tour cut short by the birth of child. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Alexis Maindrault | rockinpix.com

(Watch nine songs from last month’s Yeasayer show that streamed live on The Bowery Presents Live.)