Tag Archives: Fear Fun


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


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.


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.)