Tag Archives: Josh Tillman

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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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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

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Father John Misty Dazzles Terminal 5

July 25th, 2013

Father John Misty/Wild Nothing – Terminal 5 – July 24, 2013


Quite a crowd gathered in the vastness of Terminal 5 last night to see a double bill of indie-rock/dream-pop band Wild Nothing and folk maestro Father John Misty. And we weren’t disappointed. Both acts managed to fill the caverns of one of New York City’s larger music venues with excellent music. Wild Nothing frontman Jack Tatum sauntered onstage with his four-person band to deliver a dreamy set filled with the crowd’s favorite songs. His lyrics are distinctly straightforward and he gracefully pairs the words with floating synth-filled instrumentation. Wild Nothing’s music, like the venue it filled last night, is very spacious. The set was a luxurious listening experience complete with material from all across Tatum’s extensive repertoire.

The stage was transformed into a psychedelic playground for Josh Tillman, the man behind Father John Misty. He entered in his signature mercurial manner, clad in a white suit and sunglasses with a cigarette in his hand and a wide grin on his face. Backed by five bandmates, Tillman kicked off the set with an up-tempo version of “Funtimes in Babylon,” followed by “Only Son of the Ladiesman,” during which he got into some crowd-pleasing microphone acrobatics. The audience swayed happily to Tillman’s bittersweet ballad “Nancy from Now On” and cheered for the honky-tonk aura he assumed during “I’m Writing a Novel” and “Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2.”

The music turned pleasantly melancholic on “This Is Sally Hatchet,” “Well, You Can Do It Without Me” and “Now I’m Learning to Love the War.” And Tillman kept up the witty banter to the crowd’s happy satisfaction. Renditions of  “Tee Pees 1-12” and “Everyman Needs a Companion” followed, and “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” had everyone singing along exuberantly. The audience was drawn to Tillman like bugs to a shining light on a summer night. The band left the stage briefly, clearly expecting cheers. Father John Misty and Co. returned for a short encore, with the frontman requesting that the disco ball be switched on. They finished with a cover of the Beatles’ “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and a new tune, “I Love You, Honey Bear.” Tillman graciously exited the stage, assuring us he would be back soon. I, for one, look forward to it. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.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.)

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Father John Misty – Mercury Lounge – May 18, 2012

May 21st, 2012


Photos courtesy of Chris Becker | www.artistsweetsbecker.us