Jonathan Wilson is a busy man, most recently producing Father John Misty’s third album, Pure Comedy, plus appearing on Conor Oberst’s Salutations and Roger Waters’ Is This the Life We Really Want, in addition to serving as musical director (and lead guitarist) on the former Pink Floyd member’s massive tour last summer. And amidst all that, Wilson (above, performing “Moses Pain”) somehow managed to make time to complete his third psychedelic-folk gem of an LP, Rare Birds (stream it below), which just dropped this past Friday. “Musically, Wilson serves up a heaping helping of psychedelicized, occasionally spacey, generally measured and reflective rock, often indebted to late Beatles/early ELO, prog, glam and mid-period David Bowie,” says American Songwriter. “A strikingly original, complex and inspired work, one that requires your attention and rewards repeated spins.” And according to NPR Music, “You can tell that Wilson is a student of rock and pop in all its forms, and at the same time he’s an utterly original and irreverent thinker who’s evolving with blinding speed. Rarely have those qualities been balanced as elegantly as they are here.” But, of course, his music is best experienced live and in the moment, and touring behind the new album, Jonathan Wilson plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night. Queens duo the Shacks open the show.
Tag Archives: Father John Misty
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
Tags: Adam Green, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel, Father John Misty, Jim Morrison, Josh Tillman, Live Music, Moldy Peaches, Music, New York City, Patrick King, Photos, Pip Cowley, Pure Comedy, Review
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With another acclaimed LP under his belt, Father John Misty returns to New York City this week for three shows. Tickets still remain to see him tomorrow at Kings Theatre, but his Thursday and Friday appearances at Brooklyn Steel are already sold out. The House List is giving away two tickets to Thursday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Father John Misty, 5/11) and a brief message explaining your favorite Pure Comedy tune. Eddie Bruiser, who’s been listening to the album on vinyl, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.
Tags: Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel, Capitol Theatre, Contest, Eddie Bruiser, Father John Misty, Free Tickets, Grow a Pair, Kings Theatre, Live Music, Music, New York City, Pure Comedy
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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
Before heading to Canada and then across the Atlantic to Europe, Father John Misty lands in New York City this week to play Rough Trade NYC on Thursday and The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday. Both appearances sold out well in advance, but The House List is giving away two tickets to Thursday’s show. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Father John Misty, 2/12) and a brief message explaining why you think Valentine’s Day is terrific—or why you don’t. Eddie Bruiser, who’s in the latter camp, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.
More than a decade ago, Sean Tillmann decided to leave behind indie guitar rock for a more crowd-pleasing, sex-charged version of R&B. And performing, often shirtless, as the dynamic Har Mar Superstar, he found a newer, bigger audience. Since then, he’s moved from Minnesota to New York City and hit the road with bands like the Strokes, Father John Misty and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Har Mar Superstar (above, doing one of the year’s top singles, “Lady You Shot Me”) put out his most acclaimed album, Bye Bye 17 (stream it below), this past spring, and after performing across Europe, he returns home to host the Obnoxiously Non-Denominational Holiday Party tonight at The Bowery Ballroom. And since it is a fiesta, Har Mar has guests: Lizzo, Computer Magic, See Through and DJ Jenny Eliscu.
Tags: Bye Bye 17, Computer Magic, DJ Jenny Eliscu, Father John Misty, Har Mar Superstar, Lizzo, Sean Tillmann, See Through, the Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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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.
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
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.
She hails from Long Island, but singer-songwriter Jenny O. began making a name for herself in her adopted hometown, Los Angeles (“I feel a lot freer in California to make what I want to make”), sometimes playing solo acoustic shows and also performing with a full backing band. Her first EP, Home, filled with charming, personal tunes, began to introduce her to a wider audience—as did last year’s tour with Father John Misty. Now she’s crisscrossing the country in support of her debut album, Automechanic (stream it below), released earlier this year and produced by the talented Jonathan Wilson (a House List favorite). Fortunately for us, her current tour brings Jenny O. (above, playing “Well OK Honey” for Jam in the Van) to Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Go check her out.
More than a decade ago, Sean Tillmann decided to leave behind indie guitar rock for a more crowd-pleasing, sex-charged version of R&B. And performing, often shirtless, as the dynamic Har Mar Superstar, he found a newer, bigger audience. Since then, he’s moved from Minnesota to New York City and hit the road with bands like the Strokes, Father John Misty and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Har Mar Superstar (above, performing “EZ Pass”) has a new album, Bye Bye 17, out next month, and ahead of his show on Monday at The Bowery Ballroom with the Virgins, he exchanged e-mails with The House List while on a long drive through the Midwest where he revealed himself to be a fan of Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” (“Footloose, bro”) and Philly rockers Free Energy, plus he answered Five Questions.
What’s the best part of playing New York City?
I love taking a taxi home from the show. It gives me whole new levels of partying possibilities. The show always benefits from that luxury.
Living in NYC, is there any special relevance to playing The Bowery Ballroom?
The Bowery Ballroom is one my favorite places to see shows. It’s a classic. It feels like homecoming playing there mid-tour. People are always impressed when you tell them you’re playing there.
Your fifth Har Mar album, Bye Bye 17, comes out next month. When you release new music is there some sense of relief that it’s done, or is it really just the beginning and you’re excited to play the new tunes live?
This is definitely just the beginning. I love playing live, and new songs make it so much more exciting. Bye Bye 17 is particularly exciting because the response has been huge and immediate. The songs make people pay attention.
After all these years on the road, what have you learned to make touring easier?
Touring with your friends makes everything easier. Stay at hotels with free breakfast.
Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
Love songs are best when they’re sad. Real-life experience helps you channel the emotions. Next time someone tears your heart out, write a love song. It feels good. —R. Zizmor
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, Bye Bye 17, Deniece Williams, Father John Misty, Five Questions, Har Mar Superstar, Preview, Sean Tillmann, the Strokes, the Virgins, Video, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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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
Tags: Adam Green, Adriel Denae, Albert Hammond Jr., Alberta Cross, Andrew W.K., Cabin Down Below Band, Carney, Corey Chisel, Cyndi Lauper, Delta Spirit, Fab Moretti, Father John Misty, Fred Armisen, Guster, Har Mar Superstar, Hurricane Bells, John McEnroe, Johnny T, Justin Townes Earle, Karen Elson, Matt Sweeney, Mooney Suzuki, Nicole Atkins, Petter Ericson Stakee, Petty Fest, Photos, Ryan Miller, Sammy James Jr., Steve Schiltz, Webster Hall
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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
(Father John Misty plays Webster Hall on 1/14.)
You know who has a million great songs you probably already know by heart? Tom Petty. The guy’s a legendary hitmaker who’s been making music to raucously sing along to since 1976. Blues, roots, rock, country. You name it, he’s done it. And tonight at Webster Hall, the Cabin Down Below Band—the same guys behind Dylan Fest and Stones Fest—are having a party to celebrate his music. And they won’t go it alone. Far from it! Expect guests galore, like Father John Misty, Andrew W.K., Justin Townes Earle, Delta Spirit, Karen Elson, Ryan Miller of Guster, Jody Porter of Fountains of Wayne, Caveman, Petter Ericson Stakee of Alberta Cross and lots, lots more. As an added bonus, 100 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and the Musicians Cancer Fund. And a word of advice: You might want to take a sick day tomorrow.
Tags: Alberta Cross, Andrew W.K., Cabin Down Below Band, Delta Spirit, Dylan Fest, Father John Misty, Fountains of Wayne, Guster, Jody Porter, Justin Townes Earle, Karen Elson, Musicians Cancer Fund, Petter Ericson Stakee, Petty Fest, Preview, Ryan Miller, Stones Fest, Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, Tom Petty, Video, Webster Hall
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