In 2008 I attended the Sub Pop Records 20th Anniversary music festival which included my third time seeing the Fleet Foxes perform. I had become a big fan of the band over that summer and it was at this show that I became impressed by their drummer who had started an impromptu drumming competition with the band that was soundchecking on the neighboring stage. That drummer, Joshua Tillman, subsequently left the Fleet Foxes to pursue his own music career under the name Father John Misty.
I started hearing his new single, I’m Writing a Novel, on CBC and was immediately hooked. Sharon mentioned he was coming to town so we picked up some tickets and arrived at Venue on Saturday night to check the man out in person.
The show was short (about an hour) but entertaining. Now that J Tillman is up front and not stuck behind a drum kit, his playful, goofy personality is on full display. “An orgy of rainbows” was how he described his encore. This became my favorite quote from the evening.
Even funnier than all the ridiculous things coming out of Tillman’s mouth was his rubbery, Gumby-like dancing. After a couple of mellow songs to warm up, the band played I’m Writing a Novel and this spurred the rubbery singer into a full routine of hand waving and hip shaking.
The set flew by and when the band came out and Tillman proclaimed an “orgy of rainbows” for the encore, they performed two covers: John Lennon’s Mind Games and Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips. I was impressed by the Lips cover since I am a huge fan of that band. It was also a surprise for a folk and country style singer to pick a psychedelic rock band’s song to cover.
I’ve been slowing down on the number of concerts I’m attending but I’m glad we got to see this one. If his next album does well then it’s certain that he’ll be playing much bigger rooms and we’ll have been lucky to see him in a club like Venue. With shows as good as this I have no doubt that Father John Misty will be a bigger deal in the next few years.