Tag Archives: Jim Morrison

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Father John Misty Lets His Music Do the Talking at Brooklyn Steel

May 12th, 2017

Father John Misty – Brooklyn Steel – May 11, 2017


Brooklyn Steel was shoulder to shoulder with people on Thursday night to see Father John Misty for the second of three straight-sold out shows in Brooklyn this week. His new album, Pure Comedy, is a lyrically deep concept record that has been picking up some well-earned praise for layered cultural commentary that takes sharp aim at sacred cows, innocent bystanders and everything in between. It’s a demanding and serious affair that eschews his usual self-deprecating humor for a set of somber ballads that set out to explain how the technological advancements we’ve made as humans is quickly leading to our downfall as a species. See? Comedy, right? Nevertheless, the room was filled with excitement as people packed in eagerly waiting for the Father’s sermon.

First up was NYC freak-folk mainstay and ex–Moldy Peaches frontman Adam Green, who recently directed the video for Misty’s new single, “Total Entertainment Forever,” and it’s truly something to behold. If you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. I won’t spoil it for you. Along with his three-piece band, Green played a set full of feel-good indie rock that found him high-fiving people in the front row and even fitting in a few lengthy crowd surfs that took him across the room. As he said his goodbyes, it was clear that he had won over everyone who caught his opening set.

Shortly after, the crowd exploded with cheers as Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, took the stage. Dedicating the lion’s share of his set to the new album, he shied away from his usual witty stage banter and let the songs do most of the talking. The new material translated to the stage fantastically as his nine-piece band, complete with a horn section and two-keyboardists, brought the dynamics and drama that make the arrangements so powerful on record. Ever the dynamite showman, Misty navigated the stage with ease as he threw in his Jim Morrison gyrations with a wink and a nudge all while pouring out his world-weary grievances through his tender croon. Misty’s voice sounded tremendous as it filled the room and was heartbreakingly beautiful when he would hit his high falsetto. As good as it was, when he reached back to some of the more upbeat material from his first two albums to close out the set, the crowd answered back singing along to every word.

When he returned for the encore, Father John Misty addressed the crowd for the first time, entering into a long and hilarious conversation with a girl in the front row. She yelled out for him to “Do you!” to which he replied, “Thanks, I needed that today” before going into his anthem about modern American dejection, “Bored in the USA.” During the final song, “Holy Shit,” the singer-songwriter pointed the microphone stand into the crowd to let the adoring fans belt out the wordless refrain before taking his final bows. By the end of the night, Misty’s message had landed and was somehow both distressing and life-affirming at the same time—all in a fantastic way, of course. —Patrick King | @MrPatKing

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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A CMJ Showcase with a Global Touch at Rough Trade NYC

October 27th, 2014

Austin Psych Fest Presents – Rough Trade NYC – October 25, 2014

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For a showcase evening put on by a psych-rock festival, you might have expected trippy visuals, a slacker vibe and plenty of long guitar jams. As far as the Austin Psych Fest CMJ show at Rough Trade NYC on Saturday night, that’s a check, affirmative and a “hell yeah!” The full marathon showcase stretched from Saturday supper to just about Sunday breakfast, but I can only attest to the three heart-of-the-night sets I caught and assure you there were plenty of all three. Wampire, out of Portland, Ore., didn’t shy away from the night’s extended free-for-all mentality, stretching out things in a sort of psychedelic doo wop while a virtual pot of water boiled on the screen behind them. A guest sax player brought a free-jazz sound that got things even more out there.

Melbourne’s King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard provided the night’s centerpiece. Only at CMJ can you go to a Brooklyn venue to see an Australian band in a show put on by a Texas promoter. The group’s name evokes something Jim Morrison might have ad-libbed in a lysergic-induced rant—or maybe the band that played the raging Butterbeer keggers in the Hogwarts dungeons—and their set didn’t dispel such notions. They opened with a 15-minute blizzard of sound: double drums setting off three overlapping guitars (including a space-out 12-string) and an acid-blues harmonica, everything resting on a Jack Bruce (R.I.P.) bass. Was it one song or several duct taped together? Didn’t matter, because it was a glorious display of body-shaking psych rock that turned the sold-out club on its head. The rest of the set emerged confidently from the crater left by the explosive opener, stoner excursions crossed with a smart prog-rock mentality (a little flute, anyone?) accompanied by jittery Technicolor static on the backdrop. When they announced their last song, the just-getting-going audience learned the downside of CMJ week, the set felt like the trailer of a blockbuster, whetting the appetite for the real thing later on down the road, which most in the room would agree will be here soon.

The upside of CMJ is there is always more. And as the clock ticked toward morning, Moon Duo turned things inward. The trio (!?) began each song, like “Free Action,” and then let the sound become untethered. Long droning guitar jams circled back on themselves while drums and synth did their best to keep things from floating too far away as the display zapped horizontal lines of color back and forth across the screen. For me, it was a perfect ending to the night, for others, it was probably just the beginning. —A. Stein

 

 

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Two Bands Worthy of the Hype

March 1st, 2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra/Foxygen – The Bowery Ballroom – February 28, 2013

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The first time I saw Unknown Mortal Orchestra (or UMO) a couple years back, they were a support act you could just tell wouldn’t be an opener for too much longer. So it felt like no coincidence that their big sold-out headlining show last night at The Bowery Ballroom would feature an opening band riding an acclaimed debut album and the justified hype to sold-out headlining gigs of their own before too long. That band, Foxygen, took the stage in a blaze of manic energy and echo-reverb ooh la la’s, twitching their way through pretty much all of their new We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic album. Those recorded tracks come off as retrofitted rock gems, but live they were a delightfully jagged and ragged set. Untethered from the studio, the sound felt like 1960s rock and roll in a blender: a juicy cocktail of Jagger’s vocals, McCartney’s bass, Morrison’s lithe, wild-eyed stage presence, the Who’s bombastic energy, an occasional dash of Dylan’s off-kilter harmonica, topped off with Neil Young’s hat. It was a delicious brew that the expectant crowd guzzled down happily, highlighted by whiplash versions of “On Blue Mountain” and “No Destruction.”

If Foxygen offered a look back for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, UMO returned the favor. Riding on a next-step sophomore album, simply titled II, the Portland, Ore., trio crackled with the confident, cohesive energy of a band in control. On paper, UMO are a standard power trio—guitar, bass and drums—but their sound has a subtle surrealistic edge. This is a power trio as painted by Salvador Dali, melting over the limbs of trees and walls in a distorted reality. They opened with a splash of older material, centered on the catchy, off-center “Thought Ballune,” every bit of music crunched through just the right amount of distortion. From there, they unveiled track after track from the new album, the heavy-hitter middle section of the show characterized by a nonstop, groove-rock bass playing from Jake Portrait, which propelled along each tune. Frontman Ruban Nielson, looking downright wizardlike in poncho and hat, took over from there, leading the band through the set’s final third, which seemed to get better with each passing riff. Centered on a surprising sing-along version of “From the Sun,” Nielson fit powerful guitar solos into perfectly orchestrated pieces, with each sound from the pummeling drumming of Riley Geare to Nielson’s vocals locked into place. That tune relented into a wonderful Frank Zappa section, which kept at it through the remainder: The band sounding as if Zappa were leading Zeppelin as a power trio through an updated psychedelic catalog.

While the late-night packed crowd thinned out a bit around midnight, those who remained to the end seemed to hear pretty much everything from both albums by the end of the night, from the just-weird-enough “Ffunny Ffriends,” off the self-titled debut to the soulful “So Good at Being in Trouble,” off II. I was struck by how much better the already-darn-good band had gotten since that opening hit, getting me to already contemplate their next time through town, as well as what the future brings for Foxygen. And of course, most important, who will be opening for them when they’re playing their big sold-out headlining show. —A. Stein