On Valentine’s Day, Father John Misty, a unique, extremely talented, and bold musical artist performed at the Bowery Ballroom on Delancey Street in Manhattan. Father John, whose real name is Josh Tillman, is a former member of the commonly known band Fleet Foxes. The doors opened at 8 p.m., with the opening act beginning at 9 p.m., and Father John Misty coming on stage an hour later. As it was Valentine’s Day, there were many couples at this concert thoroughly enjoying themselves as they danced and shouted and sang along to the majority of the songs played off of Father John Misty’s two albums made under his stage name, one of which came out only in February. He has made a total of ten albums in the past eleven years, but his most recent album, I love you, Honeybear, is garnering high praise from critics.
The atmosphere of the Bowery Ballroom was very comforting and intimate. The venue is not very large, and had a bit of a speakeasyvibe to it. The curtains falling down to the edges of the stage were lime green and velvet, and the lights on stage were light blue creating a very mellow mood.
The first act of the night was a one man band by the name of Guy Blakeslee, who is based out of Hollywood. Blakeslee had a bracelet with bells on it that he would shake throughout the majority of his songs. His lyrics held much meaning and his tone was very ghostly, enchanting and even a bit eerie.
At 10 p.m., five men came out on stage and began settling into their instruments. Father John Misty walked onto the stage roughly a few seconds into the first song being played the titular song off the recent album. Father John is slender, very tall and can be easily identified by his long hair, beard, and bright eyes.The audience burst out into exciting shrieks as he stood up on a drum and started dancing with his back to the audience.
The following songs played alternated from the new album to the old album. A personal favorite off of the new album, “True Affection”, was one of the first songs played. He directly faced the crowd when he sang “Seems like/you” and “I/need to have a crazy conversation!” “True Affection” was one of the more electric sounding songs played during the concert. During “Chateau Lobby,” Father John had a man with a trumpet wearing a Mariachi suit come out on stage and join him. “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings,” was sung closer to the end of the concert. This is one of his most well-known songs as it also has a music video featuring Aubrey Plaza from the show Parks and Recreation.
Father John threw out his arms into the crowd many times throughout the night. Fans raced up to simply shake his hand. Near the end of the show he jumped off the stage, still with the microphone in his hand, and walked right into the audience! He serenaded several people and many fans tried to get close to him. The sarcastic and witty song “Bored in the U.S.A.” was one of the slower songs he played at the end of the show. He turned to the audience to sing, “By this afternoon I’ll live in debt, by tomorrow be replaced by children.” He danced up until the very end of his performance, with his long legs stepping along to the rhythm of each song he sang.
His live performance was vivacious, genuine and energetic. Seeing his love for his music in person thoroughly proves just how talented and passionate he is about what he does. His next concert in Manhattan will be on August 5th on Central Park Summer Stage. It is hard to think of a better live performer or venue, so if you have the opportunity to see him, definitely seize it!