The palatial Capitol Theater felt like a fitting venue to catch Father John Misty, who if not the monarch of indie music, is at least the venerable jester. Josh Tillman, who performs as Father John Misty, is currently on tour supporting his latest, Chloë and the Next 20th Century, an album that he joked from the stage was a jazz album that he wrote without him knowing how to write jazz songs. It is in fact indebted to big band and jazz standards and invokes the golden age of Hollywood, and a return to a more personal, reflective sound.
The show featured several songs from the new album, which fit seamlessly with his entire catalog. Opening with “The Next 20th Century,” the set featured a well-balanced mix from across Misty’s discography, highlights including “Strange Encounter,” “Nancy From Now On,” “When You’re Smiling and Astride Me” and “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow.” Tillman even debuted a new song on stage, “Josh Tillman and the Accidental Dose.”
Tillman is the master of the musical character study, in-depth, deeply funny, and often cutting assessments of people and the human condition. This is maybe most true when he turns the camera on himself. This has been true since the release of his debut, the debaucherous and country-tinged Fear Fun, and his breakout, his sophomore album, I Love You, Honeybear, which while still bacchanalian in parts, is a meditation on monogamous love (shout out to the woman the show googling “Father John Misty spouse.”) For his third and fourth albums, Tillman took a wider view, compiling and examining the ills of society and sparing no one.
Father John Misty at The Capitol Theater
With Chloë and the Next 20th Century, there is both the return to a closer aperture, songs about interpersonal strife and loss (of a pet in “Goodbye Mr. Blue”), and showcases a clear maturity, both in subject matter (on stage Tillman made sure to distance himself slightly from the more debauched songs he wrote earlier in his career), but also in form. He seems unafraid to pursue both new musical directions, and write deeply personal songs, making it a very exciting time to be a fan of Father John Misty.
Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Emilio Herce)
Setlist: The Next 20th Century, Strange Encounter, Total Entertainment Forever, The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apt, Goodbye Mr. Blue, Funny Girl, Nancy From Now On, Things It Would Have Been Helpful to Know Before the Revolution, Mr. Tillman, When You’re Smiling and Astride Me, Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins), Chloë, Q4, Please Don’t Die, Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Cow, We Could Be Strangers, Josh Tillman and the Accidental Dose, Hangout at the Gallows, Pure Comedy, I Love You Honeybear Encore: Funtimes in Babylon, Buddy’s Rendezvous, I’m Writing a Novel, The Ideal Husband, Real Love Baby, Holy Shit
FATHER JOHN MISTY